Lonegan seeks friends among GOP establishment

Conservative Steve Lonegan is expected to seek the GOP nomination for Governor in 2009.Conservative Steve Lonegan is expected to seek the GOP nomination for Governor in 2009.
For years, conservative activist Steve Lonegan has been seen by the state's moderate, mainstream Republicans more as a thorn in the side than a boon to their party.

But after leaving office as the mayor of Bogota, the ever-controversial Lonegan has - at least on the surface - made nice with some of the party's more high profile members as he's dramatically increased his statewide profile.

Take the convention run shortly before the U.S. Senate primaries at the Trenton Marriot, where Americans for Prosperity - the anti-tax group whose New Jersey chapter Lonegan heads up - brought out a couple national Republican luminaries and a few New Jersey Republicans who typically aren't seen with Lonegan.

Once you got past the 3,000 pound fiberglass pig perched atop a trailer parked outside the hotel, you could meet not only some of the of the Republicans' most conservative legislators -- like Assembly members Michael Patrick Carroll, Richard Merkt, Allison Littell-McHose and State Sen. Gerald Cardinale. But also present were members of the new crop of Republican leadership like Tom Kean, Jr., Kevin O'Toole and Joe Kyrillos.

The convention came about six months after the November surprise defeat of two ballot initiatives that Lonegan fought hard against, including one to borrow money for stem-cell research. Political observers differ on how much credit Lonegan gets for the measures' defeat, but he was most vocal opponent, and became the face of the effort.

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Weinberg on Ferriero

The search warrant executed on Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero’s law office comes just days before Ferriero, a Clinton delegate, was set to travel to Denver for the Democratic National Convention.

Ferriero could not be reached for comment to say whether his plans have changed regarding today’s events. 

Ferriero’s long-time political foe, State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), said that she won’t take a position on whether or not Ferriero should go.

“I think that’s his decision.  I think this whole thing does cast a dark cloud over Bergen County political activities, but he is not an elected official, he hasn’t been elected to govern, and I hope whatever’s coming out of this happens quickly so that it’s over,” she said.  “The timing is not great given the upcoming election.  So I would hope that it moves quickly and he has a chance to clear his name.”

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Lonegan would support McCain ticket with Lieberman or Ridge, but grudgingly

Conservative activist and potential gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan said that he’ll support John McCain for president, even if he picks a pro-choice running mate.

But he hopes it doesn’t come down to that.

“I’m going to support the McCain ticket, but I think that would be another discouragement for conservatives. So I hope he chooses better than that, wiser than that,” said Lonegan. “Barack Obama is way far to the left, but that would just be, I think,a political blunder on McCain’s part. And I think the signal to conservatives, again, is hey we don’t need you or where else are you going to go.”

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Chris Smith reunites family separated by Russian/Georgian conflict

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith with Joseph, Ashley and Sophia Evans: Evans Family PhotoU.S. Rep. Chris Smith with Joseph, Ashley and Sophia Evans: Evans Family Photo
The Associated Press reports that U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) has succeeded in securing the passage of two Monmouth County children from a war zone in the Republic of Georgia to the U.S. Embassy in the capital.

Ashley and Sophia Evans, ages seven and three, had been trapped at their grandparents’ farm after Russian troops invaded parts of the nation two weeks ago.

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FBI seizes documents from Ferriero law office

The Record is reporting that "federal law-enforcement officials executed a search warrant at the Lyndhurst law offices of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero this morning, removing at least eight boxes of documents." The report says that "federal agents also were at the Hackensack offices of BCDO attorney Dennis Oury."

"The Bergen Record has reported extensively on the subject, and it would be improper for me to form an opinion on the matter," Bergen County GOP Chairman Bob Yudin told PolitickerNJ.com today. "It's obviously now in a criminal investigation mode and the best we could do is for us all to stand back and let the professionals in the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office do their job and let the chips fall where they fall.  I would just limit my comment to that."

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Byrne to Dems: 'stop badmouthing' Barack

Gov. Brendan T. Byne, right, earlier this week with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.: Politicker file photoGov. Brendan T. Byne, right, earlier this week with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.: Politicker file photo 

Ask former Gov. Brendan Bryne about his most memorable Democratic National Convention and he fires back the answer without hesitation: 1976.

"The first one with Jimmy Carter was a new experience for me, although he did not carry New Jersey," said Byrne, who served as governor from 1974-1982.

"It was a festive atmosphere, as I recall," he said. "People were throwing peanuts around the convention hall and everything had a newness for me, though now it’s a little bit stale."

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Hughes wouldn't run for governor in 2009, says Corzine 'definitely deserves' re-election

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said he fully supports Gov. Jon Corzine’s re-election and would not run for governor if Corzine went to an Obama administration or abruptly pulled out of his re-election bid.

"I’ve been successful in Mercer, but to move up to governor in a 2009 run would take a lot of work, and I don’t have the recognition to go statewide," said Hughes, son of the late Gov. Richard J. Hughes, who served from 1962 to 1970.

Himself re-elected last year, Hughes said Corzine definitely deserves re-election.

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Lautenberg can't use campaign funds to pay off personal loan

United States Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) will have to take a loss on the $1.65 million he loaned himself for his primary against U.S. Rep. Ron Andrews (D-Haddon Heights), according to an advisory opinion from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

A Lautenberg lawyer last month wrote to request the opinion to see if the Supreme Court’s ruling that the “millionaire’s amendment” to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) was unconstitutional could also be applied to a provision of the act that bans candidates from paying off more than $250,000 in personal loans with campaign contributions made after the election.

In a memorandum dated Monday, four lawyers from the FEC replied that the provisions regarding repayment of personal loans were not struck down by the Supreme Court’s decision in Davis v. Federal Election Commission.

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The Back Room

National progressive group backs Watson Coleman in CD12

The Progressive Democrats of America Co-Founder and National Director Tim Carpenter and State Chair Mary Ellen Marino today endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman for the Democratic nomination in the 12thCongressional District.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 24, 2014

Organization to honor Gov. KeanAn event next month for Community Options, Inc. will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the organization's founding and honor Governor Tom Kean, Sr., a was an advocate over 25 years ago for bringing individuals with developmental disabilities out of state institutions into small group homes.Robert...

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Quote of the day

"This is the only Tea Party group that endorsed Mitt Romney. These guys are the Vichy French of the Tea Party movement. They're the guys who say 'Viva la France,' and then you can't find them when the fighting starts. Come on." - GOP strategist Rick Shaftan, on the Independence Hall Tea Party group.

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