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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Christie and DiVincenzo cherish friendship, as Essex Exec maintains political support for Corzine

Christie and DiVincenzo cherish friendship, as Essex Exec maintains political support for Corzine
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo today in the Hall of Records.

NEWARK – A soundtrack of Chris Christie’s favorite Jersey songster wailing on a mouth harp flooded the room as Essex County politicians and staffers filled the first floor of the Essex County Hall of Records, but Phil Alagia clarified that there was a reason why he didn’t select Springsteen’s magnum opus.

 “We were going to play ‘Born to Run’ but we realized that would not be a good song for him (Christie) today,” said County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo’s chief of staff and hard-nosed Democratic Party operative.

With a light touch, Alagia made sure people understood that DiVincenzo and company’s celebration of Christie’s seven-year service as U.S. Attorney should not be misconstrued as a statement of support for Christie should the Republican decide to run for governor and rebrand a battered statewide party.

“I’m 100 percent with Corzine,” he said.

Ditto DiVincenzo, the County Executive explained when it was his turn to herald Christie, who went 130 and 0 in pursuing corruption cases against public officials. Theirs is a special relationship, he admitted – indeed, a friendship - and not just because the man affectionately termed “Joe D” and Christie are both Newark natives.

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Davis still stung by Lonegan's targeting of Asselta

Last year, Americans for Prosperity, a taxpayer advocacy group headed up by former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, targeted then- Republican state Sen. Nicholas Asselta for supporting paid family leave.

Now, as Lonegan seeks the Republican nomination for governor, that could hurt Lonegan’s chance at winning support in Atlantic County.

“As a Republican County chairman, I question why someone who wants to be our gubernatorial candidate would go out of his way to spend money against a Republican, as opposed to spending those resources to grow our Republican Party in this state.  That’s something I want to sit down and talk to Steve about,” said Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis.  “We have to stop shooting at each other and start shooting at the opposition.”

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Some county chairs keep their gubernatorial options open -- for now

With the 2009 gubernatorial field still far from settled, the majority of Republican county chairs PolitickerNJ spoke to today refused to commit absolutely to anyone, though many said they leaned toward Christie.

Monmouth County Republican Chairman Joe Oxley would not formally endorse Christie before he even entered the race, but said he was hopeful that he would jump in.

“At this point I think that clearly everybody’s anticipating, hoping and expecting that Chris may very well enter the race. I certainly can tell you he’s a personal friend, and I think he’s got broad support in Monmouth County,” he said.   

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Some county chairs let Christie know they're there for him

Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie has not declared his gubernatorial candidacy yet, but without even personally pleading his case to anyone, he has already rolled up the support of several GOP chairmen -- some from heavily Republican counties.

George Gilmore, the Republican chairman of Ocean County, will personally endorse Christie if he decides to enter the race, as will his counterparts John Sette in Morris County and Doug Steinhardt in Warren County. Some other Republican chairs are circumspect about committing this early in the process, but say they lean towards Christie.

“Now this is my personal statement obviously, but I think Chris Christie, if he is desirous of running for governor, offers the best opportunity for the Republican Party to win a statewide election next year against Gov. Corzine,” said Gilmore.

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Christie says give him four to six weeks

Christie says give him four to six weeks
Chris Christie today in Newark.

NEWARK - Thirteen hours after he strode out of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the last time, a familiar Essex County scene unfolded here on another street in the Central Ward, where Chris Christie stood in front of a bank of microphones in a packed room at the Essex County Hall of Records.

After seven years of fingering corrupt politicians and putting them behind bars, Christie this afternoon allowed friends in that same, often troubled, public profession to shower him with some local love.

In a pull-out-all-the-stops event complete with Bruce Springsteen soundtrack and tears on cheeks as Christie struck a gratified and reflective mood, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and his staff heaped gifts and kind words on the crimebuster - one day after his resignation from office.

Trying to break through the bear-hugging Christie and DiVincenzo after the ceremony, reporters crowded the likely GOP gubernatorial candidate and prodded him about whether he intends to run  against incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

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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

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(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 »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

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