McHose: Palin has chutzpah

Allison Littell McHose, a 43-year-old conservative Assemblywoman from Sussex County, thinks that Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old conservative Governor of Alaska, is a great choice for Vice President.

Much of the delegation has talked about Palin’s record on ethical reform resonating with New Jersey voters.  McHose, however, focused on her fiscal conservatism.

“She is a reformer, she has cut spending in the state of Alaska, and the refund she was able to give the people from oil is something that will resonate in the state of new jersey,” she said.  “We like someone who has chutzpah like she does.” 

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Wilson will be 'sickened' if NRCC doesn't spend money in District 3

Wilson will be 'sickened' if NRCC doesn't spend money in District 3

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- By law, retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton can’t tell the National Republican Congressional Committee what to do with the $400,000 he just donated to them.

But Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson has a good idea of where the money should go: to the cash strapped Chris Myers, who’s running as Saxton’s choice to fill his 3rd Congressional District seat. Myers is running against Democratic State Sen. John Adler, who as of the last filing period had about 10 times Myers’s cash-on-hand.

So far, the NRCC hasn’t made any public commitments to the district. When asked if he would be disappointed if the NRCC didn’t commit any resources to the 3rd District, Wilson was candid.

“If they don’t, I’ll be more than disappointed. I’ll be sickened, and I’ll be pissed,” he said. “I can tell them to. They don’t have to listen to me. Once the money is in their treasury it’s theirs to do what they will with, but hopefully his colleagues will be respectful of his commitment to the caucus and make sure that his seat stays in Republican hands.”

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Military theme dominates Pataki speech

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, moments after addressing N.J.'s GOP delegation at the Hilton.: Politicker photoFormer New York Gov. George Pataki, moments after addressing N.J.'s GOP delegation at the Hilton.: Politicker photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - McCain as military protector provided the solemn motif former New York Gov. George Pataki used this morning to finally prompt a standing ovation from his New Jersey audience.

"There are no finer people in our country than those who put on the uniform for our country," said Pataki, and a pattering of hands started that grew steadily as the former governor added of McCain, "I pray he spends the next four years protecting our country."

Hitting another responsive chord in the crowd, Pataki told a story about a reporter - and there were some groans as he provided the setup - who asked him if the massive loss of oil in the Gulf as a consequence of Hurricane Gustav were not sufficient proof that America shouldn’t drill.

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Smith ups his profile before the convention

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- U.S. Rep. Chris Smith tends to shun the spotlight, but he couldn’t avoid the congratulations coming from his fellow Republicans today.

Smith (R-Hamilton) made an appearance this morning at the delegation breakfast, just weeks after making headlines for extracting two of his constituents from their grandparents’ home in the Republic of Georgia.

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore came over to greet smith, who represents part of his county.

“You’re looking good,” he said.

Smith last month got an email from one of his constituents, Joseph Evans, telling him that his two daughters were stuck at their grandparents farm in the Republic of Georgia. Smith sprung into action from his district office in Hamilton, spending a week working the phones from Hamilton before heading to Tbilisi himself.

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DuHaime returns to Jersey roots - even if it's in Minneapolis

Mike DuHaime at today's breakfast.: Politicker photoMike DuHaime at today's breakfast.: Politicker photo

MINNEAPOLIS - State Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) and McCain Campaign Political Director Mike DuHaime grew up together in the Republican Party, working for then-Congressman Bob Franks.

Referring to their paths onward as time passed, "One of them made good, and the other became a state senator," Baroni joked to the delegation at this morning’s breakfast.

Among those smiling faces in the audience was none other than the youthful DuHaime, paying his respects to his home crowd in this distant Midwestern city. The former campaign manager of Rudy Giuliani officially joined Team McCain in early July and now works out of Arlington, Va.

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Huckabee: blessed are the brief

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.  – Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wondered out loud today why the New Jersey delegation had asked him to speak to their delegation this afternoon.”

“Why on earth would they invite a southern boy to speak to the folks of New Jersey today?  Must have been the novelty,” he said.

That was the extent of Huckabee’s remarks regarding New Jersey today.  Instead, he launched into an eight minute speech praising Sen. John McCain as an honorable man who’s ready to be president, along with the pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for Vice President.

“Today you’re going to hear us say wonderful things, but the good thing is we don’t have to make it up.  We genuinely believe John McCain is tested, prepared and ready to be president,” he said. 

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Kean: Corzine hurting higher education

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Former Republican Gov. Tom Kean tends to be more circumspect about criticizing Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, even while he’s the favorite target of members of his own party. But Kean, perfectly aware of the ups and downs of gubernatorial opinion polls, said that he thinks that Republican criticism of Corzine is legitimate.

“It’s not unfounded,” he said. “The state’s not in great shape. Taxes are too high, we’re losing people and businesses. We can’t sustain that. We’ve got to be a state that’s expanding and creating jobs, not losing jobs.”

Kean, who after his second term expired in 1990 went on to become president of Drew University before retiring in 2005, said he recognizes the need to cut the budget, but it’s the programs Corzine has chosen that bother him.

“I have no problem with his cutting the budget, but I do have a problem with the cuts he’s selected that are going to take it out on higher education. I think the future of the state these days is college education is like a high school education… I’m really not happy with that.”

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Zimmer foregoes going after Lautenberg

U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer, left, with GOP power player Bill Palatucci: Politicker photoU.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer, left, with GOP power player Bill Palatucci: Politicker photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - Now U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer takes the stage. Understated as usual, the Republican picks former Gov. Tom Kean out of the crowd, and happily notes the presence of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton).

Then he celebrates the national ticket of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"They’re two reformers, two mavericks, who are really going to change the country," Zimmer said.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 24, 2014

Organization to honor Gov. KeanAn event next month for Community Options, Inc. will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the organization's founding and honor Governor Tom Kean, Sr., a was an advocate over 25 years ago for bringing individuals with developmental disabilities out of state institutions into small group homes.Robert...

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