Making statement regarding gubernatorial intentions, Merkt won't run for re-election

Making statement regarding gubernatorial intentions, Merkt won't run for re-election

Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Medham) is thinking about running for Governor in 2009.
DENVER - When people ask him if he’s a mountain man - one of those hard right warriors from Northwestern Jersey, Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Randolph) responds that he’s "more of a foothill guy."

Whatever the colloquialism, Merkt said today that he is very serious about trying to climb over the obstacles to challenge Gov. Jon Corzine. Tomorrow he will officially establish an exploratory committee toward that end.

How serious is he?

"I will not seek re-election to the Assembly," said the 11-year legislative veteran, a corporate attorney with TDI Power in Hackettstown.

"This is no trial balloon," Merkt said. "I’ve been considering this for a number of months, and I am convinced that New Jersey needs a governor who respects the people."

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Chivukula says a McCain/Jindal ticket would help with Indian community

GOP presidential candidate John McCain with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, an Asian-Indian and possible VP pick: Getty Images PhotoGOP presidential candidate John McCain with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, an Asian-Indian and possible VP pick: Getty Images Photo
DENVER -- Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, the first Indian-American to serve in the state legislature, said that if McCain chooses Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as his running mate, many of the state’s Indians would be tempted to vote for him.

But while New Jersey has one of the largest Indian populations in the country, Chivukula (D-FranklinTownship) said that there aren’t enough of them to change the statewide tide.

“I’m sure it will have some impact, yes. But Indian-Americans are not a large percentage, so it’s not going to be that much,” he said.

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Saxton donates $400k to NRCC, but there's no guarantee it will help Myers

Retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton is giving $400,000 of his roughly $1 million war chest to the cash strapped National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), by far the largest donation he’s ever made to the organization.

If the NRCC chooses, they can pour some or all of that money into ad buys in the 3rd Congressional District, where Saxton’s heir apparent, Medford Mayor Chris Myers, is outfunded by opponent John Adler by a margin of 10-1. As of the last FEC report, Myers had $155,000 on hand to Adler’s nearly $1.5 million.

The problem is that Saxton can’t even suggest to NRCC officials where they should send the money.

“He can’t do that. There are absolutely no strings attached by law,” said Saxton Communications Director Jeff Sagnip, who used to work part-time for the Myers campaign as well. “There’s no guarantee that they could send it here.”

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DiVincenzo says Corzine is definitely running

DENVER -- Essex County Executive Joe DiVencenzo may have said last week that he would consider running for Governor if Gov. Corzine left office early or decided not to seek reelection, but since arriving for the convention he’s been assured that won’t be the case.

“There’s no question Jon is going to be running for reelection. He’s been working this delegation very, very well.   He assured me that he’s going to be our candidate whether Obama wins our not.  He’s not interested in going to Washington,” said DiVincenzo. 

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Paterson explains difference between Obama and McCain through Holt's perspective

DENVER -- New York Governor David Paterson this morning said he was a “great admirer of the State of New Jersey.”

Paterson came a long way across the Denver Metropolitan area to speak to the New Jersey delegation at the Inverness Hotel in Englewood, Co, arriving close to an hour late after watching Gov. Corzine speak to his own delegation. After being introduced by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-Princeton), Paterson joked about the distance.

“I am a great admirer of the state of New Jersey, and I will come to any event that’s schedule that any of you invite me to,” he said. “I just want you to know that this facility is further away from the Sheraton than any geographic point in New Jersey is from New York. So if I can get here, I can get to your event.”

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David Paterson on Dennis Shulman and Steve Lonegan

New York Governor David Paterson said he shares a special bond with Dennis Shulman, the blind rabbi and psychologist who’s running in the 5th Congressional District.

“I’m really proud of him. He’s a great person and we’ve got a lot of similar experiences, and it was a lot of fun to have some kinship,” said Paterson, who like Shulman has been legally blind since childhood. “There are a lot of African-American elected officials, but the only blind elected official I ever met was the former Lieutenant Governor from Maryland."

Shulman was in the audience when Paterson gave the keynote address at the New Jersey delegation’s breakfast this morning. Paterson actually endorsed Shulman before former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned, when he was merely Lieutenant Governor. Since then, he’s held two fundraising events with Shulman in New York City.

Both Shulman and Paterson said a third event is planned, though they haven’t worked out the specifics.

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Palmer considers play for lieutenant governor's job

Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer: Politicker file photoTrenton Mayor Doug Palmer: Politicker file photo

DENVER - The name of Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer often appears on people’s short lists for lieutenant governor in 2009.

Palmer doesn’t have a problem with that.

"I’m thinking about it," he told, regarding attempting to land an under-card position on a ticket with Gov. Jon Corzine.

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Byrne delights the delegation

Former Gov. Brendan Byrne: Politicker file photoFormer Gov. Brendan Byrne: Politicker file photo 

DENVER - The crowd here at the Inverness jumped to its feet for former Gov. Brendan Byrne, who went to the podium to address the delegation - and promptly dropped them practically out of their chairs with laughter.

"When I heard Cory Booker here the other day, he was inspiring," said Byrne, of the Newark mayor’s Revolutionary War evocation at Monday’s breakfast.

Byrne said he tried to do the same thing once in the name of Jersey pride, and it backfired massively.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

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The future of NJ Politics should not be politicians investigating politicians

By JON BRAMNICK Voices around the country agree with our concern that "bipartisan committee led by John Wisniewski is partisan." Below are observers who agree Wisneiwski's committee is not bipartisan: Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Democrats made a mistake... Read More >


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Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop



Who does Alieta Eck want to win the CD12 Democratic Primary?:


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