Obama, Newark, and the expectations

Obama, Newark, and the expectations
North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos

NEWARK – Among Newark elected officials, the election of Barack Obama last week sparked hope for healthcare reform, more federal aid, a re-invigorated sense of American leadership - and a special place on the president’s to-do list for the Brick City.

Inevitably, the Democratic victory also opened up questions about the future of Mayor Cory Booker, a supporter of Obama’s from the beginning of his campaign, who now serves on the president-elect’s transition team as it relates specifically to urban affairs.

As mayor of one of New Jersey’s biggest and one of America’s oldest cities with a battered infrastructure, Booker will join over 20 other New Jersey mayors in Newark on Wednesday for a conference to redefine urban needs for the new administration.

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Doherty starts door-to-door quest for state Senate seat

It’s a week after the election, and the dust has yet to settle on the race to take over the state Senate seat of Leonard Lance (R-Flemington).  But one thing has been constant since Wednesday: Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington) is gunning hard for the seat, and has already started his door knocking campaign across pastoral Hunterdon and Warren Counties.

“I have my list and I have my Garmin, which certainly helps navigate some of our rural roads in the dark,” said Doherty.

There are roughly 400 county committee members from the two counties that comprise the 23rd Legislative District, and Doherty plans to visit every one of them (many are husband and wife teams, which helps cut down on the number of doors to knock on). Last night, he began his campaign, visiting committee members in Glen Gardner, Bethlehem and Hampton.

After Lance resigns his seat to move up to Congress in January, those committee members will decide who gets to fill in for Lance in Trenton until the June primary and special election in November.

Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington), who has also expressed interest in the seat, has a slight geographical edge.  Hunterdon County has a larger population than Doherty’s native Warren County, and has about 40 more county committee members.

That’s why Doherty has begun by focusing on Hunterdon County Committee members.

“I initially focused on some Hunterdon county folks, but I’ll hit folks in the two counties,” he said.

Karrow could not be reached for comment.  Several Republican sources said today that she’s having second thoughts about running, given Doherty’s strong support by conservative groups.

Warren County Republican Chairman Doug Steinhardt said that Doherty can count on nearly unanimous support from the Warren County committee members.  Even if Hunterdon County does field a candidate, he said, Doherty will be able to sap enough votes from their members to win.

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National Dominican organization recognizes Blanco as a first

National Dominican organization recognizes Blanco as a first
Blanco last month at an Obama rally in Paterson.

The Dominican American National Roundtable, a Washington-DC based organization, which tracks Dominican American history, culture and trends, has officially declared Dr. Alex Blanco of Passaic as the first ever Dominican mayor in U.S. history.

The organizaton cites only one other time (in 2001) when a Dominican American has acted in a mayoral capacity (from Lawrence, MA). In that case, the person was an acting mayor, not an elected mayor. 

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Smith assumes Bayonne mayor's office this evening

Smith assumes Bayonne mayor's office this evening
Mayor-elect Mark Smith

Triumphant last week in the mayor’s race, Acting Police Director Mark Smith will officially take office today in Bayonne.

Five O’clock Mass at St. Henry’s Church will be followed by a 6 p.m. swearing-in ceremony at City Hall on Avenue C.

Smith topped a five-man field that included retired municipal Judge Pat Conaghan, former Mayor Richard Rutkowski, Zoning Commissioner Ray Rokicki and city clerk Robert Sloan.

Smith won with over 45 percent of the 20,000 votes cast.

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Conservative group endorses Doherty for state senate

Conservative group endorses Doherty for state senate
Assemblyman Michael Doherty is seeking the State Senate seat of U.S. Rep.-elect Leonard Lance

The Conservatives with Attitude(CWA)Executive Committee today announced its unanimous endorsement of Assemblyman Michael Doherty to fill the New Jersey State Senate seat vacated by Congressman-elect/state Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon).

“Assemblyman Doherty is a pro-taxpayer, pro-family conservative who
believes in smaller government, lower taxes, and personal responsibility,” said Michael Illions, co-executive director of Conservatives with Attitude. “He is a true, Back to Basics Republican with the voting record to prove it.”

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Choi gears up for 2009

Focused on getting re-elected mayor next year, Edison Mayor Jun Choi won’t entertain questions about a 7th District Congressional run in 2010, or about 2011 legislative redistricting.  

“My only interest right now is Edison,” Choi told PolitickerNJ.com. “My only interest is to improve the quality of life for Edison residents and to complete the job we started in Edison. I am committed to running for re-election.”

Choi bucked the organization line nearly four years ago to win as an independent Democrat. Whether or not the party organization gives him a concerted challenge in 2009 is now a question mark, at least according to party brass.   

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Senators scramble for Adler's judiciary chairmanship

Senators scramble for Adler's judiciary chairmanship
State Sen. Barbara Buono wants to stay focused on state budget issues

At least three State Senators want to succeed U.S. Rep.-elect John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) as chairman of the power Judiciary Committee, a decision that will be made by Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex). 

Sources say state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair), and Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), want to succeed Adler, while two other senators with legal cred say they’re satisfied with their present chairmanships and don’t want to make a play for judiciary chair.

“It would be an interesting chairmanship,” admitted state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen). “But I can’t imagine a more challenging chairmanship than the budget committee, and right now with the economy what it is, I would like to stay focused.”

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), who already serves on the judiciary committee, said he’s likewise not budging from his current chairmanship of economic development.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 25th

  After 'briefly' meeting with Christie in Aspen, Astorino says he can live with not having Christie's help New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino's campaign described their candidate's fundraising trip to Aspen last night as a success - even if they will not be depending on the chairman...

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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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