Merkt hits 300-town milestone, vows to jog in all 566 towns in longshot bid for Governor

Merkt hits 300-town milestone, vows to jog in all 566 towns in longshot bid for Governor
Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham)

The man in a jogging suit and sneakers turns onto Main Street and runs through Raritan, past the taverns and pizza parlors and churches and convenience stores.


He keeps a good pace as he heads out of the downtown business district, through a few blocks of residential housing and then across Route 206 and into Somerville. “I want to show people I’m hungry for this nomination,” says Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham).  


There aren’t a lot of people out here who appear to be hanging on his every footfall, let alone his every word. With the exception of his campaign manager Chris Venis in tow and his daughter, occasionally – Merkt runs alone.

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Fifth Ward vet Belfiore says Cammarano has right temperament for Hoboken mayor

HOBOKEN - Perry Belfiore will sit out the municipal races next year in Hoboken, where a state monitor has taken over the city's embattled financial situation. He won’t run for mayor and he won’t run for any of the three at-large seats. 

“What are you kidding me? I borrowed $9,000 for my last campaign, and had to get out a second mortgage on our second home,” he told “Every time I mention politics, my wife reminds me how much my hobby costs us. $9,000. So that’s where it’s at. I will be roasting, toasting and hosting but I will not be embroiled.” 

Befiore ran against Peter Cunningham in the fifth ward last year. Cunningham beat him by 104 votes in a runoff election.

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Beck seeks details on budget freezes from gov's office

Beck seeks details on budget freezes from gov's office
State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), left, with Assemblywoman Alison McHose (R-Franklin).

Following a lead taken by state Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., (R-Union), State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) today called on Gov. Jon Corzine to detail what fund he intends to freeze to address a $1.2 billion revenue drop in this year's budget.  

"Time is of the essence if we are going to adequately address New Jersey's declining revenue," Beck said in a release. "Tough decisions inevitably must be made, but that is what governors and members of the legislature are elected to do. Governor Corzine should not keep stonewalling the release of these documents if they exist, which they should.” 

The governor’s office gave a “must be a slow news day” acknowledgement of Beck’s plea, noting that Corzine has already said he plans to release the budget details in the New Year. 

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In Madison, Stevenson concedes

Local Republican candidate George “Jerry” Stevenson apparently does not intend to contest a ruling by Judge Theodore Bozonelis declaring Dan Dunham winner of the Madison Borough Council race by a three-vote margin.

A recount on Monday, Dec. 22, at the Board of Elections in Morristown showed Democrat Dunham's total number of votes rising to 3,370 while Stevenson's remained 3,367, according to the Daily Record.


This afternoon, Stevenson conceded, according to a triumphant Lew Candura, chairman of the Morris County Democratic Committee.

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A sheriff speaks: Trout calls prosecutor's office investigation a 'power play'

A sheriff speaks: Trout calls prosecutor's office investigation a 'power play'

FLEMINGTON – Hunterdon County Sheriff Deborah Trout said she has no intention of resigning her office as the county prosecutor’s office examines materials it seized from her office last week as part of an investigation into hiring practices at the sheriff’s office.  

“It’s a power play, that’s all I can come up with,” Trout told today. “The freeholders don’t want a sheriff’s office. They’re picking on our office. I was told if they could, they would not have a sheriff’s office. One thing I know is they’re not going to find anything. I believe it to be a fishing expedition.” 

Last Monday, Trout’s receptionist called her downstairs to meet Detective Ken Row and other investigators.

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A political career in three parts: Chris Christie, the freeholder

A political career in three parts: Chris Christie, the freeholder
Chris Christie, who began his political career running for Morris County Freeholder in 1994, is expected to seek the GOP nomination for Governor in 2009.

His 1995 swearing-in ceremony marked an auspicious beginning for Freeholder Christopher J. Christie, who raised his right hand to take the oath of office at the prompting of former Gov. Thomas Kean.*

If Christie was still relatively unknown in Morris County Republican politics, the considerable presence of Kean at the reorganization meeting six months after the young comer ousted incumbent Cecilia Laureys in the GOP primary turned some heads.

Soon more people would know the freshman freeholder, although to hear observers tell the story – thirteen years removed from the initial pomp of the Kean triumphal – Christie didn’t exactly overwhelm the Morris County Republican organization. It wasn’t that he didn’t get government or arrived at freeholder meetings unprepared

That wasn’t it at all.

He just appeared unusually ambitious, particularly when, just two months into his first term as a freeholder, he announced his intentions to run for the State Assembly.  He said he’d accomplished all he needed to at the county level and that it was time to move on to Trenton.

His colleagues saw that as a particularly audacious move.

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In '09, Freeholder control at stake in four counties

Majority control of the Board of Chosen Freeholders could flip in four of New Jersey’s 21 counties in November 2009: Atlantic, Burlington, Monmouth and Salem.  In Burlington, Republicans currently have a 3-2 majority after Democrats won two seats last month – their first wins in Freeholder races in two decades.  Two veteran Republican Freeholders are up for re-election in 2009: Bill Haines and Jim Wujcik.  Democrats need to beat one of the two incumbents to win control. 

In Monmouth County, Democrats won their first majority since 1986 when Amy Mallet’s victory in a recount gave them 3-2 control.  Democrat Barbara McMorrow is expected to seek re-election to a second term, and Republicans can regain control if they can unseat her next year.

In Salem County, Democrats have a 5-2 majority after Republicans picked up the open seat of retiring Democratic Freeholder Charles Sullivan, who passed away last Tuesday after a long illness.  Two Democratic incumbents, Beth Timberman and Jeffrey Hogan, are up in 2009.  Republicans would need to win both seats to take control. 

In Atlantic County, where Democrats picked up a Freeholder seat in the last election (and lost a five-term Sheriff), Republicans have a 6-3 majority.  Three Republicans are up next year: At-Large Freeholder Frank Giordano, who was elected as a Democrat in 2006 (he defeated incumbent Frank Finnerty) and then switched parties last year; District 2 Freeholder Thomas Russo, and District 5 Freeholder James Curcio.  Democrats would have to oust two of the three GOP incumbents to take control.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 28th

Chris Christie's Jekyll & Hyde complex We all know the story: An amiable, even-keeled doctor, in an effort to separate the good from his darker impulses, concocts and consumes a secret potion that, momentarily, induces a metamorphosis of physical and mental being and turns him into a monstrous and...

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White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >


(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... 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

"He was a focal point for the disturbance." - former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne (the Essex County Prosecutor in July 1967), of former Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio

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