Stormwatch persists in Minneapolis

Todd Christie, brother of U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, left, and state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer).: Politicker file photoTodd Christie, brother of U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, left, and state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer).: Politicker file photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - Republicans eat breakfast here at the Hilton while Hurricane Gustav shakes up New Orleans, and state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) says the party's monitoring the situation.

"We are now waiting for word from the Republican National Committee on what will happen next," says Baroni, state chairman of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign in New Jersey.

State Republican Chairman Tom Wilson says the fed's announcement that Gustav has been downgraded from a 3.0 to a category 2.0 hurricane bodes well for the convention, Tuesday through Thursday.

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Pennacchio stays home from convention

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio gave up his delegate slot to stay in New Jersey for Labor Day weekendState Sen. Joe Pennacchio gave up his delegate slot to stay in New Jersey for Labor Day weekend
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. While New Jersey Republicans gather for their convention, one person who’s staying home is state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, who was supposed to be a delegate.

Speaking to PolitickerNJ two weeks ago, Pennacchio (R-Montville) said he wouldn’t be attending for a number of reasons. For one, he decided after his U.S. Senate primary campaign to spend more time with his family. He also wants to spend more time focusing on his legislative career and his dental practice. But there’s something else too.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t want to party with the party leaders. The leaders everyone was talking about in my campaign,” said Pennacchio, whose delegate spot has been replaced by former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino. “I have an indifference towards them as much as they have an indifference towards me.”

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Fenton dismissive of Dems' charges

MINNEAPOLIS - Burlington County Freeholder Director Aubrey Fenton dismissed Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last week as sleep-inducing history.

"It was late on the East Coast when he started speaking, and I was dozing," said the Republican. "Certainly it was historic, but when you see these guys side-by-side in a debate, Obama and (Sen. John) McCain (R-Ariz.), there won’t be any contest. In Burlington, you’re looking at Fort Dix-McGuire, where McCain resonates very well."

In his own re-election battle with two Democrats this year, Fenton is in attendance here at the Republican National Convention.

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Palin a strong pick because of local elected experience, says Hatfield

Former Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield: Politicker file photoFormer Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield: Politicker file photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - Former Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield likes former Gov. Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential selection in no small part because the Alaskan served as mayor of a small town.

In her own unsuccessful 7th Congressional District run earlier this year, Hatfield emphasized her knowledge of local infrastructure issues as a plus for holding office in a bloated and misdirected Washington.

Palin brings the same grounded background, in Hatfield’s view.

"Her face re-brands the Republican Party," she said. "It’s not a gimmick. You don’t pick someone to be vice-president as part of a gimmick."

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Did Gustav actually do McCain a favor?

More from Politicker.com editorial cartoonist Rob Tornoe: According to local cartoonists, Alaska's loss isn't necessarily America's gain

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Kean: Gustav gives McCain a chance to show contrast

Kean: Gustav gives McCain a chance to show contrast

MINNEAPOLIS - For most Republicans, that divide in their party between former Gov. Thomas Kean and George W. Bush is just as wide as the one they hope exists between Bush, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"We’ve got an uphill battle," Kean said on the eve of party’s national convention. "The change theme is real."

In his acceptance speech last Thursday, McCain’s rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) elicited a roar from the crowd when he harnessed McCain to that 90 percent of the time he voted with Bush throughout the latter’s eight-year presidency.

But the GOP wants to sell McCain as a different kind of Republican: someone with gravitas who can reach out to the middle and appeal to people outside of the party, someone not unlike the environmentally friendly and socially tolerant Kean.

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DeCroce happy about Ferreiro's presence in Denver

Minority Leader Alex DeCroce: Politicker file photoMinority Leader Alex DeCroce: Politicker file photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - Landing in Minneapolis for the Republican National Convention, state Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany-Troy Hills) said he was initially unhappy about John McCain’s selection for vice president.

But now he’s warming to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and in any case he’s delighted his rivals saw fit to party with embattled Bergen County Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Ferriero at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week.

"If they’re that stupid to let him go, let them do it," said DeCroce. "It helps us."

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The Back Room

National progressive group backs Watson Coleman in CD12

The Progressive Democrats of America Co-Founder and National Director Tim Carpenter and State Chair Mary Ellen Marino today endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman for the Democratic nomination in the 12thCongressional District.

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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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Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is the only Tea Party group that endorsed Mitt Romney. These guys are the Vichy French of the Tea Party movement. They're the guys who say 'Viva la France,' and then you can't find them when the fighting starts. Come on." - GOP strategist Rick Shaftan, on the Independence Hall Tea Party group.

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