Merkt covers a lot of roadway as his campaign tries to gain traction

Merkt covers a lot of roadway as his campaign tries to gain traction
Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham)

When Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) officially kicked off his gubernatorial campaign on Oct. 22, it proved no awesome headline-grabbing event just days before an historic presidential election.

But the 12-year veteran of the Assembly and long-shot candidate for the Republican nomination for governor said he made his declaration when he did because he was steamed over news about the way Democrats during the Codey administration managed a state fund supposedly dedicated to property tax relief.

 Merkt believes that his money notwithstanding, millionaire Gov. Jon Corzine will present Republicans with a soft target next year.

 “Let’s face it, he wanted to be Secretary of Treasury and didn’t get it,” said Merkt. “He’s running for governor as a consolation prize. And his wealth can be turned against him. I think you point out to the people that here’s a guy who spent $65 million to run for the U.S. Senate and $40 million to run for governor, and for that we got three years of misery and suffering and a declining economy.”

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Weinberg picked for judiciary committee

State Senate President Dick Codey (D-West Orange) today appointed state Sen. Loretta Weinberg to fill a vacant seat on the Judiciary Committee.

“Loretta Weinberg is an ideal choice for the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Senator Codey in a statement. “Few members rival her passion and commitment to justice and equality. She brings with her an independent spirit and nuanced approach to government that will help ensure a thorough vetting of all gubernatorial nominees, particularly judicial candidates.”

The seat opens up as state Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) prepares to resign after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Codey earlier tapped state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) to chair the committee.

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Juliano not interested in top BCDO job

Fairview Public Works Superintendent Paul Juliano today took his name out of the running to succeed Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero.

“I don’t have an interest in serving as the chairman. I’m sure my name surfaced in different circles, but I’ve never had an interest in being the chairman. It was actually a shock to me,” said Juliano, who saw his own name raised in a Bergen Record article on Sunday.

“I’m definitely flattered that my name, however it got there, was thrown into contention.”

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Holt declares state senate candidacy

Holt declares state senate candidacy
Credit: www.co.hunterdon.nj.us
Holt being sworn in as freeholder by state Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton), who he now hopes to succeed

Calling himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate in the mold of state Sen. Leonard Lance and former state Sen. Bill Schluter, Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt formally declared his candidacy for state senate in the 23rd district today to local municipal chairs and elected officials.

“It is time that the traditional Republican principles of low taxes, responsible government, transparency and impeccable integrity become the hallmarks of New Jersey governance,” wrote Holt in a letter to Republican county committee members from Hunterdon and Warren that's set to widely distributed tomorrow. “As your State Senator, I will pledge total commitment to these principles.”

Holt, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. Clifford P. Case, joins Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) of Warren County and Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington), a fellow Hunterdon County resident, in the race to succeed state Sen. Leonard Lance, who was just elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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In gubernatorial quest, Merkt unveils some local endorsements

On a week in which U.S. Attorney Chris Christie resigned from office and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan officially announced his decision to run for governor, yet another Republican statewide prospect burnished some modest local support.

Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) said his campaign for governor has so far picked up the endorsements of more than 50 elected officials in his home county of Morris.  

“We have only just begun making telephone calls to elected leaders in Morris County, but already the response has been heartening,” said Merkt, a six-term state legislator. “The gratifying part is that most of the support comes unasked from local elected officials – people with whom I have worked closely over the past dozen years and who know me better than anyone.”

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Haines will vote for Anuzis for RNC Chairman; Norcross undecided

Haines will vote for Anuzis for RNC Chairman; Norcross undecided
Saul Anuzis has two of New Jersey's three votes in his bid to become the Republican National Chairman. He is the Michigan GOP State Chairman.

Republican National Commiteewoman Virginia Haines plans to vote for Saul Anuzis, The Michigan State Republican Chairman, to lead the Republican National Committee.

“I just think he’s someone who has always been on top of the issues, he’s always kept the committee people abreast – I’m not saying that the present chairman didn’t, don't get me wrong,” said Haines.

Haines joins New Jersey Republican Chairman Tom Wilson in supporting Anuzis for the post – giving two of New Jersey’s three votes to him. Republican National Committeeman David Norcross, however, said that it’s “very premature” to decide who he wants to lead the party.

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Robinson pleads guilty as part of Operation Bid Rig

Robinson pleads guilty as part of Operation Bid Rig
Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra, Jr., who took office at 12:01 AM EST today, is now 1-0.

As part of Operation Bid Rig, a former employee of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the first public corruption release issued under the auspices of Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra. 

The feds charged Leroy Robinson, 52, of Maplewood, in March 2008 in a six-count indictment with various money laundering offenses. 

“The guilty plea of Leroy Robinson represents the most recent conviction to arise from Operation Bid Rig, the same investigation which has led to charges against more than 20 officials in Monmouth, Ocean and Somerset Counties, including convictions of the former mayors of Asbury Park, Ocean Township, West Long Branch, Brick Township, Hazlet and Keyport,” said U.S. Attorney spokesman Michael Drewniak.

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The Back Room

Report: Committee enlists cellphone carrier's aid to obtain Egea text messages

The Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) this week sent a subpoena to AT&T, seeking the contents " of any text messages sent or received by Regina Egea, the governor's liaison to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, from Dec. 1 to 31," according to Star-Ledger report.

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LOL

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 27th

One night in Clifton: Pascrell town hall crystallizes New Jersey's side of Arab-Jewish divide CLIFTON – It was the typical crowd with black yarmulkes and leopard-patterned hijab sprinkled among uncovered bald heads – Ukrainian, Turkish, Polish – Spanish Flamenco-style hair pulled back and framed by loop earrings and at...

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Op-Ed

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 >

Contributors

(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 »

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