In town from Paterson, Rodriguez backs Blanco

In town from Paterson, Rodriguez backs Blanco

PASSAIC – Among Dr. Alex Blanco’s street presence in the city on Election Day walks Paterson City At Large Councilman Rigo Rodriguez, who’s excited about his fellow Dominican American and his chances here today in the special mayoral contest.

“He’s a good candidate, and I believe he would be the right person to fight corruption in City Hall, which has been very bad here in Passaic,” said Rodriguez.

The councilman had success in his hometown in the last municipal election, as he sent an ally head-to-head with Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’s candidate, Councilman Juan Torres.

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Rone Campaign backed by Sharif, who laughes off suggestion she's a Booker mole

Rone Campaign backed by Sharif, who laughes off suggestion she's a Booker mole
Carl Sharif

NEWARK – The man Mayor Cory Booker calls his political sensei came out of the South Ward today and made a statement.

Power broker Carl Sharif laughed off the suggestion that because he’s funding Mary Rone’s Central Ward Council campaign, it means Rone is toiling as a mole for Sharif’s old ally and political acolyte, Booker.

The argument on the street is that Rone’s campaigning in those areas or at least among those populations where Booker antagonist Charles Bell is strong, in order to divide the vote and enable Osborne to win.

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Reports of huge turnout across New Jersey

Reports of huge turnout across New Jersey
Credit: Governor's Office Photo
Gov. Jon Corzine waits in line to vote this morning in Hoboken

Democratic and Republican operatives are reporting huge turnouts in urban, suburban and rural areas of the state today, with lines this morning in many polling locations.  New Jersey has nearly 5.4 million registered voters -- up from slightly more than 5 million in 2004.  Some election officials say the turnout, which was 73% four years ago, could exceed 80% today. 

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Lautenberg: 'Age is irrelevant'

Lautenberg: 'Age is irrelevant'
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg with his grandchildren at Epiphany Elementary School in Cliffside Park

CLIFFSIDE PARK -- U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) was in a jubilant mood after voting for himself this morning – so much so that, flanked by his grandchildren, he kicked off his brief press availability with some poetry.

“The sun is shining, the spirits are bright, there’s hope for America after this night,” he said while standing just outside the elementary school that serves as his polling place.

Lautenberg, 84, started off his press availability by praising Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, calling what he expects to be his imminent election a transformational moment.

“It’s really an exciting day, an exciting moment. America is on a journey. Today I think we’ll see the transformation of our country. The substance of Barack Obama as a favorite son of all of America, transcending any concerns of color, religion, culture – that’s gone. And Barack Obama is going to deliver that freedom to the American people,” he said. “As for me, I’ve been here before. Some of you have been too.”

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Mueller: 'we're running like we're ten points behind'

Mueller: 'we're running like we're ten points behind'
Obama State Director Tricia Mueller on Election Day

 PRINCETON – Tricia Mueller, state director for the Obama campaign, emerges from her office at headquarters here off Route 1 , threading her way between campaign workers to the front door.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve done, looking at the poll numbers, but we’re running as though we’re ten points behind,” says Mueller, nursing an early morning coffee.

The campaign has 6,000 people in the streets statewide, she says, and they’re in evidence here in the Princeton area, brandishing Obama for America signs and waving at commuters.

Volunteers take calls at a massive phone bank pushed against the front door. There’s evidently a problem in Montgomery Township. Three machines are down.

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Battle stations in the Central Ward

Battle stations in the Central Ward
Booker emerges from voting booth at University High School.

Newark – There’s a big show of Booker force in the Central Ward that even has hardened campaign veterans backing former Councilman Charles Bell doing an early gutcheck .

“It’s David and Goliath,”’ says Central Ward Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Brown, watching the fusion of unions working for Mayor Cory Booker’s candidate and their fellow Laborer, Eddie Osborne, overrun the giant Central Ward, pop. 58,000.

“Their forces outnumber us, 10-1,” says Brown. “And they’ve got a drag operation going, hoping new Obama voters are going to drag down the ballot to vote for Osborne. I’ve been telling people not to confront them. Just stay in your spots. We can’t win if we confront them. They’re too many of them.”

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Bell v. Osborne

Bell v. Osborne
Eddie Osborne, foreground

NEWARK – Thanksgiving came early in the Central Ward as Eddie Osborne and company hit the streets with turkeys for seniors, while the same lone, apparently paid, sentinel stood at the corner of McCarter Highway and Market Street with a sign dissing Charles Bell.

The whole ward is wired with candidates but it’s Bell versus Osborne overtime.

To look at the cityscape on its face, Osborne has the edge, for here in the city’s most populous ward there are Osborne signs, Osborne television ads, Osborne organizational muscle, vans mounted with megaphones and high visibility t-shirted LIUNA union workers passing out, yes, turkeys.

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The Back Room

Christie and his prez ambition: can he get beyond the investigation?

Continued attention drawn by a federal investigation into the George Washington Bridge fisaco "could make it hard to put events behind [Gov. Chris] Christie as quickly as might be preferred," but a Wall Street Journal report today examines the New Jersey leader's chances to repackage himself as presidential material.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 29th

  Faced with violent crime wave, Baraka, Fulop and Torres forge three-city partnership JERSEY CITY – And then there were three. That’s what it looked like, at least, when a late-arriving and widely beaming Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in cream-colored suit joined political allies Jersey City Mayor Steve...

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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

"And here was Christie — a tell-it-like-it-is, straight-talking, no-nonsense Jersey guy — telling about 60 members of the media what he really thought. 'Governor Branstad is a role model for me,' Christie gushed, referring to his 67-year-old counterpart from Iowa."

- The New York Times

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