Morning News Digest: February 12, 2009

Another poll shows Corzine struggling for voter approval, especially on economic issues

Another poll shows Corzine struggling for voter approval, especially on economic issues
Voters give Gov. Jon Corzine a C- overall grade in a new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll.

Gov. Jon Corzine has an upside-down 34%-51% approval rating and gets a grade of D+ on providing property tax relief, according to a new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll released today. 

Corzine gets a D on making the state more affordable and a D+ for controlling costs and cutting waste.  He gets a C- for bringing ethics and honesty to state government and a C for improving schools.  He also gets a C for his effort. 

"The public is looking for strong leadership in this volatile time, but they are unsure of Jon Corzine's hand on the tiller," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  "Independent voters, a critical group for the governor's re-election prospects, have become particularly doubtful over the past few months."

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Sources: Bates set to enter Hillside mayor's race

Hillside sources say it is very likely Second Ward Councilwoman Shelley Bates will enter the race for mayor as an independent Democrat in a growing field that already includes a pair of system-bucking candidates: real estate broker Joe Menza and School Board member Andre Daniels.

At-Large Councilman Jerome Jewell is also expected to formally launch his campaign with the local Democratic Party’s backing as early as next week. Jewell will run at the top of a party machine slate that will not include incumbent Councilman Frank Deo, an organization man who does not intend to pursue reelection.

The anti-party establishment Menza will run with George Cook III, who finished fifth in a run for School Board last year; Planning Board member Joe Pugliese, who finished second to Council President John Kulish; and newcomer Jean Marie Miller.

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Sources: Fontana won't pursue another term as Somerset County Freeholder

Sources: Fontana won't pursue another term as Somerset County Freeholder
Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery

BRIDGEWATER - Republican sources say veteran Somerset County Freeholder DIrector Rick Fontana this week told party leaders he will not run for reelection this year after serving since 1998.

Fontana’s departure from the seat traditionally occupied by a Bridgewater resident opens up a possibility for Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery, who’s well positioned to receive the Republican nomination.

If Flannery decides she doesn’t want to move up, sources say young gun Councilman Matthew Moench is another potential GOP candidate.

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Corzine eager to review stimulus package fine points

Corzine eager to review stimulus package fine points
Gov. Jon Corzine

Regarding news today that Congress came to an agreement regarding a $789 billion stimulus package to boost a flagging national economy, Gov. Jon Corzine said, “Their effort in getting a stimulus package onto the desk of the President as quickly as possible is a critical step to restoring confidence in our economy. 

“Although we are now in the process of reviewing the details of the bill, I am thrilled that there will be a significant recovery initiative," the governor added. "Any financial support realized from the federal stimulus package will translate into retaining jobs and vital services for New Jerseyans and people throughout the nation.”

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Lonegan: 'Kean represents the past'

Lonegan: 'Kean represents the past'
Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan

Going for contrast, shortly after frontrunner Chris Christie appeared alongside former Gov. Tom Kean in the Bernardsville Inn, insurgent Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan stood with relative no-namer Pat Cassio, the municipal chairman of the Rahway Republican Party.

The run and gun Lonegan presser was meant to show blue collar base support against a Christie-Kean GOP establishment.

“With all due respect to Tom Kean, I did not seek his endorsement,” said Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota. “I’m not a Tom Kean Republican. As governor, Tom Kean raised the sales tax from five to six percent, increased the gas tax, the income tax from two and a half to three and a half percent, and a number of corporate taxes. The state budget increased 118 percent under Gov. Kean. 

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Christie stands with Kean - but says he won't campaign with Bush and Ashcroft

Christie stands with Kean - but says he won't campaign with Bush and Ashcroft
Former Gov. Tom Kean, right, stands with gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie today at the Bernardsville Inn

BERNARDSVILLE - It's a well-documented story, about how  then-Assemblyman Tom Kean went to a Livingston classroom 32 years ago and awoke the imagination of a precocious 14-year old student, who would volunteer on Kean's successful gubernatorial campaign, grow up to be U.S. Attorney, and himself run for governor. 

Now he runs with the former governor's backing, as Kean stood with Chris Christie in the Bernardsville Inn this afterrnoon and reminded reporters that the only other time he involved himself in a Republican Primary was when his son ran for the U.S. Senate three years ago.

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Five Bergen County Republicans line up to take on O'Brien and Walton

Five Republican are seeking the Bergen County Republican Organization’s nod to take on incumbent Democratic Freeholders Julie O’Brien and Vernon Walton in November.  

Altogether, six candidates filed letters of intent with Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin, although one has already withdrawn her name.  The party will award the line to the two candidates that win a convention later this year.  

Among them is Chris Calabrese, an Upper Saddle River resident with a business in Rutherford who ran last year and was the Republicans freeholder candidates' top vote getter.

The other two Republican candidates last year, Jeff Heller and Paul Duggan, have not expressed an interest in running again. 

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The Back Room

Report: Christie in Wisconsin with Walker

In his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Gov. Chris Christie campaigned in Wisconsin today with fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 30th

Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill TRENTON - The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats - some of them outraged...

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Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).

- NJTV

Poll

Which of these "Mount Rushmore of Corruption" states deserves the centerpiece?:

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