Both parties look ahead to '09 Assembly campaigns

Both parties look ahead to '09 Assembly campaigns

All eighty seats in the New Jersey General Assembly are up next year, with Democrats in strong shape to keep their majority under a legislative map that creates relatively few competitive races.

Republicans feel that they have a good chance to go on the offensive this year, even if taking control of the Assembly, where Democrats have a 48-32 majority, is an unlikely prospect. Assembly Republican Executive Director Rick Wright thinks the gubernatorial candidacy of U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, one of four Republicans actively exploring a statewide bid, would boost his party’s chances to pick up Assembly seats.

“It all depends on who our gubernatorial candidate is. I know there’s a lot of excitement out there about Chris Christie. If and when he makes his decision, that will help us in our recruiting. We have people out there sitting and saying I want to see what Chris Christie does,” Wright said. “A lot of county chairmen think we have a much better chance of success in gubernatorial and legislative races if Chris Christie is at the top of the ticket.”

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New Jersey Right to Life endorses Doherty

So far, Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington) is the only announced candidate to succeed Congressman-elect Leonard Lance (R-Flemington) in the state Senate. But he’s already won the endorsement of the state’s major pro-life organization, New Jersey Right to Life.

The group’s executive director, Marie Tasy, lauded Doherty as a “principled leader on matters concerning the sanctity of human life,” noting that his voting record has been firmly pro-life and that as a Warren County freeholder he “led the effort” against publicly funding Planned Parenthood.

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Murphy plans another run for Congress

Former Tabernacle Committeeman Justin Murphy said today that he’s probably going to run for the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District again in 2010.

“We’ve got to build a nice network and base. It’s a long time. A year from now we’re going to get serious about it,” said Murphy, who hopes to get the opportunity to take on Democratic Congressman-elect John Adler next time. 

Murphy surprised many political observers with his strong performance in the Republican 3rd District Congressional primary in June, in which he ran as an anti-machine candidate.  The race was thought to be neck-and-neck between Medford Mayor Chris Myers and Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly, while Murphy was considered by many to be an “also ran.”  But when the votes were counted, Myers won with 12,694 to Kelly’s 6,531 and Murphy’s 6,494. 

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Lance will stay neutral on question of his successor

Lance will stay neutral on question of his successor
U.S. Rep.-elect Leonard Lance won't take sides in a race to fill his State Senate seat in January

Asked whether he’ll endorse anyone to replace him in the state Senate, Congressman-elect Leonard Lance (R-Flemington) said that he would follow advice from his late father, former Senate President Wesley Lance. 

“He said, ‘You cannot choose your successor in political life,’” said Lance.  “I think I will remain neutral.”

At least one of Lance’s running mates, Assemblyman Michael Doherty, is running for the seat.  If his other running mate, Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow, jumps in, it could be an intense battle (Multiple Republican sources say, however, that Karrow is having second thoughts about running). 

“I think very highly of both of my running mates.  I think we have worked well together. Both of my running mates have experience on freeholder boards – experience I did not have, and I want to speak highly of both of them,” he said.

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Flashpoint Chiappone

Flashpoint Chiappone
Assemblyman Tony Chiappone (D-Bayonne) and state Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson)

BAYONNE – It was a bruising fight for Assemblyman Tony Chiappone (D-Bayonne), one he wanted badly to win, but his ally in last week’s mayoral election lost, and now Chiappone must look ahead to his own re-election bid next year and the grim prospect of running off the line.

Whether on or off, Chiappone makes it clear.

 “I’m running,” he said.

The Jersey Journal’s Political Insider points out that Mark Smith’s defeat of Pat Conaghan on Election Day gives the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) the necessary leverage to dump Chiappone, who comes from that part of the 31st Legislative District composing a third of what is otherwise dominated by Jersey City.

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Leiter 'almost certain' he's not going to run against Adler in 2010

Leiter 'almost certain' he's not going to run against Adler in 2010
Toms River native Al Leiter, who played for the Yankees and the Mets, isn't likely to challenge U.S. Rep.-elect John Adler in 2010

Former baseball star Al Leiter said today that he will not likely run against Congressman-elect John Adler in 2010.

“I definitely have been curious enough to still be around the political scene… and my interest is there, while it’s stronger sometimes and weaker than others.  So that’s why I don’t ever dismiss the idea of running someday.  But I know I’m not ready now, and I’m almost certain that in 2010 I won’t be ready,” he said.

Some Republicans courted Leiter, a Toms River native who currently lives in Florida and works as a sports commentator, to run for in the 3rd Congressional District last year.  But Leiter said at the time that he’d rather get some local experience as an elected official, either in New Jersey or Florida, before running for federal office.

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Healy says Matsikoudis would make a good Regional EPA Administrator

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who backed Barack Obama for president when most other New Jersey politicos were supporting Hillary Clinton, thinks that his corporation counsel, Bill Matsikoudis, would make a good Regional EPA Administrator. 

“I don’t know if the Obama Administration is interested in anybody for that position or for Billy, but he’s got a good background in environmentalism,” said Healy.  He’s filed some suits on the city’s behalf against corporate polluters. He’s very knowledgeable, diligent and is a hard working. I certainly think he can fill that or anything else.” 

Multiple sources say that Matsikoudis is interested in that position, although it remains to be seen if Healy has the Obama administration’s ear.

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The Back Room

Christie takes state helicopter to campaign in Connecticut

Gov. Chris Christie took the "upper level" -- helicoptering over the George Washington Bridge -- to beat rush hour traffic from his home state to a recent GOP fundraiser with Connecticut gubernatorial contender Tom Foley, according to a Hearst Media report.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 24th

  Of friends, enemies, transactions and transportation: the evolving political relationship of Bob Menendez and Steve Fulop The image yesterday in Washington D.C. of powerful U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) walking the hallways with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop sent a signal of Menendez’s willingness to get behind...

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Op-Ed

NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >

Contributors

 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(7-23-14) Rabner Opinion Keeps “Christie for President” Alive - Gov. Chris Christie’s fight to prevent same-sex marriage in New Jersey ended with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran

- Star-Ledger

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