Menendez would be a great boost as convention speaker, Rothman says

Menendez would be a great boost as convention speaker, Rothman says

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn): Politicker file photoU.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn): Politicker file photo

DENVER - It's not in his hands now, but U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) would love to see Sen. Robert Menendez (D-Union city) receive a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention.

"It would be great for Obama, great for New Jersey and great for the party," said Rothman, Obama's Northeast Regional campaign co-chair, who is in attendance at a party in the Inverness Hotel in honor of Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden).

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For Torres, the streets of Paterson lead to Denver

Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres: Politicker file photoPaterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres: Politicker file photo 

DENVER - If he felt any angst about his first choice not landing a place on the Democrats’ presidential ticket, Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres didn’t show it as he landed in the lobby of the Inverness Hotel on Monday, and turned his attention on the Republicans.

"We are fighting a war in our cities, but we are not putting the resources in to fight those wars internally," said Torres, who noted the fall-off in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding during the Bush years.

Failing in a 2005 fight to terminate the program that administers urban aid, the Bush administration sought unprecedented cuts - up to 20%, the highest percentage proposed cuts since the program’s inception in 1982.

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Passaic ready to go big for Obama, says Currie

Party Chairman John Currie and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson): Politicker photoParty Chairman John Currie and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson): Politicker photo 

DENVER - Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) romped in Passaic County in the Democratic Primary, essentially blowing up the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il.) there with a 59-38% victory.

"He didn’t win a single town in Passaic," said Democratic Party Chairman John Currie, and that includes the county’s biggest city.

"In my ward, he lost handily," recalled Sixth Ward Paterson Councilman Andre Sayegh, a longtime Obama supporter. "A lot of Latinos in my ward told me, ‘We’ll vote for you, but not Obama.’ It wasn’t a landslide, but he lost Paterson, and got trounced in my ward."

Now old school Democrat Currie, a onetime Clinton backer, wants to mobilize his troops behind Obama for the general election, where Democrats number 47,807 to the Republicans 38,662 registered voters.

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Tom Byrne is not sitting on a $1 million campaign account for nothing

Former Gov. Brendan Byrne, right, and Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.  Byrne may do what Tom Kean and Dick Hughes could not: elect their son GovernorFormer Gov. Brendan Byrne, right, and Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. Byrne may do what Tom Kean and Dick Hughes could not: elect their son Governor
DENVER – There are surely other father and son duos here in Denver, but perhaps none as recognizable as former Governor Brendan Byrne and his son Tom.

And Tom Byrne, the former Democratic State Chairman who currently works as a financial advisor, admits that having another Governor Byrne in the future is a possibility, though perhaps vague and distant.

Like U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and State Sen. Stephen Sweeney, Byrne admits that he would weigh running for Governor in the unlikely event that Gov. Corzine was offered and accepted a position in an Obama administration.

Byrne said he’s interested, but warned not to read into it too much.

“I think probably every third person in here is [interested],” he said

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Frank Lautenberg introduces his son to the delegation

When Sen. Frank Lautenberg seemed parched a few minutes into his speech to the New Jersey delegation today, a man, as if on cue, walked up from the audience with a glass of water.

“This is my son Josh. This is what he does for a living,” said Lautenberg.

Lautenberg’s son Josh, 40, lives here in Colorado – in Vail, to be exact – the same town where his father was originally sworn in for his first term in office in 1982.

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State GOP rips Stender on tax woes

New Jersey Republican Chairman Tom Wilson released a statement Monday blasting Assemblywoman and Democratic congressional candidate Linda Stender (D-Union) on her own tax problems.

In the statement, Wilson said Stender's business accrued $90,000 in unpaid local, state and federal taxes over the last three years, paying only when faced with liens on her business.

Wilson said Stender has consistently voted to raise taxes in the state Assembly while neglecting to pay her own business taxes.

"Stender's raised taxes 64 times as a legislator, but when it comes to paying her own taxes, she routinely takes a pass," Wilson said in the statement. "The last thing Congress needs is another tax and spend liberal all too eager to raise everyone else's taxes because she doesn't want to pay hers."

Stender is facing off against state Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) in New Jersey's 7th Congressional District. She failed in a 2006 bid to take the seat from incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-Ridgewood), who is not seeking reelection.

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Pounding the 'One America' theme on day one

Jersey City Deputy Mayor Kibili Tayari: Politicker photoJersey City Deputy Mayor Kibili Tayari: Politicker photo 

DENVER - Seated on a park bench in front of the Inverness Hotel, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Kibili Tayari looked out across the expansive courtyard and parking lot dotted with the recognizable faces of New Jersey politicians zig-zagging in different directions.

"What’s going to make us unified coming out here?" he asked. "Obama’s got to pound that one nation theme. He’s just got to keep pounding that all week long. There are enough Americans who have that in their hearts. That’s the message, man. America."

It’s not going to be easy coming out of the convention, said Tayari.

"Dr. King used to say that in order for evil to triumph, all we have to do is sit back and do nothing," said the deputy mayor, who’s been with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il.) since the start.

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Shulman makes the rounds in Denver

DENVER – The Democratic Party already knows Dennis Shulman, who’s running for Congress against Republican incumbent E. Scott Garrett, exists. 

Shulman, a blind rabbi and psychologist who’s not a delegate, is attending the Democratic National Convention.  And he said he’s been doing the same thing in Denver he’s been doing at home in Bergen County – shaking hands and trying to convince influential politicians that his district is winnable, even against an entrenched incumbent. 

Pretty much all of the New Jersey delegation in Denver knows who Shulman is, and many politicians from other states may have heard of him from news accounts in several national publications.  But convincing them that winning is a realistic prospect is another matter.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 23, 2014

Colorado politicians invite Christie to experience 'Rocky Mountain High'Colorado politicians slapped back at Gov. Chris Christie after he questioned their Rocky Mountain quality of life under the rule of legalized marijuana.“Whether it’s hiking season or snow season, we invite Gov. Christie to experience Colorado’s quality of life anytime,"  Sen....

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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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(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

“The good news of tonight is that these problems are fixable.” - Gov. Chris Christie



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