After running as a local Obama, Hawkins runs early into the hard edge of Orange

After running as a local Obama, Hawkins runs early into the hard edge of Orange
Eldridge Hawkins at the opening of Obama HQ in Newark, with Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith (background, left).

ORANGE – In the city a little over a year, young Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., ran as the Obama of Orange – a new messenger intent on change in the wake of another public man’s wreckage.

As he observed his older opponent on Election Day, Hawkins brazenly likened the campaign of At-Large Councilman Donald Page to a shopworn Hillary Clinton, and compared his own to that of the hard-charging, inspirational Barack Obama.

But more than five months into his term of office as mayor, Hawkins’s critics object to what they call the 29-year old executive’s early failure to deliver the city convincingly from the era of Mims Hackett, who’s soon to be serving time in a federal pen for corruption.

A proposed $57.2 million budget is up $3.6 million from last year’s, and residents face a significant tax increase. Meanwhile, even new furnishings at City Hall can’t camouflage an entrenched cast of old regime characters. 

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Quinnipiac poll shows Corzine leading Christie, narrowly

Democrats think today's Quinnipiac gubernatorial poll indicates that Gov. Jon Corzine is well on his way to being understood and embraced by the electorate after making several unpopular and tough, but necessary decisions.

Republicans see the poll as demonstrating lackluster support for the Corzine, considering he's spent a combined $100 million on his two previous statewide races, and early enthusiasm for U.S. Attorney Chris Christie's potential candidacy among those who have heard of him.

Meanwhile, non-partisan political analysts see the poll as a wash, with promising and troubling results for both Corzine and U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, who is viewed as a likely gubernatorial candidate.

Corzine leads Christie in the poll, 42% to 36%, although only 37% of voters think Corzine deserves to be reelected and his approval rating remains net negative. Christie remains a relative unknown, with only 30% of respondents knowing enough about him to form an opinion.

Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), the Democratic State Chairman, said that's the number that caught his attention. Despite dozens of positive front page headlines about his indictments and convictions of prominent public officials since he was sworn in, 70% of voters still barely know anything about him.

On top of that, although Corzine still has a net negative approval rating, he's improved significantly since the last Quinnipiac poll in September.

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In Passaic, a game of GOP volleyball

The internal fight in the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization took an amusing turn today.

First, a splinter Republican group called GOP Strong -- which has been highly critical of Assemblyman and Passaic County Republican Chairman Scott Rumana (R-Wayne) -- issued a press release casting doubt on Rumana’s effectiveness and earnestness in his fight against Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations.

Half an hour later, Rumana issued a press release announcing that he had been named “Legislator of the Year” by the Building Officials Association of New Jersey because of his opposition to the new COAH rules.

That drew a follow-up press release from GOP Strong, claiming that Rumana was touting the award as a “desperate attempt to demonstrate the he actually matters in Trenton,” and that the organization is “made up of a handful of bureaucrats who enforce onerous building codes in New Jersey.”

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Hipp leaves door open to Assembly run

Speculation persists in Republican circles that Rutherford Mayor John Hipp would make a good assembly candidate, but Hipp has not been privy to it.

In September, Hipp told PolitickerNJ that he would only consider running if party leaders asked him to. That hasn’t changed.

“I haven’t said no because obviously if I’m asked to help out the party I want to do everything I can,” he said.

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Curley concedes race to Mallet

Curley concedes race to Mallet
Amy Mallet

Monmouth County Republican Freeholder candidate John Curley just called Amy Mallet to congratulate her on her victory, he told

“Having won the votes cast in the voting machines, I have fallen short in provisional and absentee ballots,” said Curley, a former Red Bank councilman who now lives in Middletown.

He also congratulate failed Democratic candidate Glenn Mason and his own running mate, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry, who won re-election on Nov. 4th, praising her as an “honest, capable and hard-working friend.”

“I was honored to carry the banner for the Republican Party, and I thank everybody for their commitment and energy on my behalf - you have buoyed my belief in a great place we call home,”  said the candidate.

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Curley huddles with lawyers in Monmouth on the last day a candidate can contest results

Not so fast, says John Curley of Middletown Township.

The GOP’s Monmouth County Freeholder candidate convenes with fellow party members and attorneys this morning to determine if he should contest the results of his close race with Democrat Amy Mallet.

“There has been so much that’s transpired in this election,” says Curley. “We’re going to get some hard evidence and based on that either proceed, or concede.”

Following the provisional ballot count yesterday at the Board of elections office, Mallet unofficially defeated Curley by 343 votes.

Although counting didn’t finish until after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Curley says he climbed into his car at 4:30 p.m. only to hear a radio news report announcing Mallet’s victory.

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Merkt calls for Wilson's resignation

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, GOP gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Richard A. Merkt (R-Mendham) called on Republican State Committee Chairman Tom Wilson to resign his post immediately “in the best interests of the party.”

“After years of failure, it is time for the New Jersey State GOP to change horses and look to new leadership if it wants to succeed in 2009,” said Merkt. “Wilson has overseen a series of dismal state campaigns, reducing the Republican party to essential irrelevance in New Jersey state politics.”

 Merkt called Wilson’s handling of the U.S. Senate Primary a “fiasco,” in which the establishment juggled one candidate after another before running with former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, and getting soundly beaten by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park).  In particular, the party’s selection of political neophyte and food heir Andy Unanue, whose short-lived candidacy dissolved in jarring headlines about his party boy past, galled Merkt.

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Corzine approvals remain upside-down as most voters say he shouldn't get second term

Corzine approvals remain upside-down as most voters say he shouldn't get second term
Credit: Getty Images Photo
Gov. Jon Corzine has an upside-down 43%-46% job approval rating

Gov. Jon Corzine continues to struggle with his fifth negative approval rating this year -- 43%-46% -- according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today.  But those numbers are better than his 40%-51% approval rating in a September 17 Quinnipiac poll.  More than half of New Jersey voters (51%) say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected, while just 37% say he does.  

New Jerseyans, by a 54%-30% margin, don't want Corzine to be Barack Obama's Secretary of the Treasury.

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The Back Room

Report: Christie campaigns for Hutchinson

No real news out of Arkansas this evening as a local report documents Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie stumping in Arkansas on behaf of Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson.

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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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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 >


(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 »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“Israelis don’t want peace more than the Palestinians, Palestinians don’t want peace more than the Israelis, but I do know one thing: Hamas is a terrorist organization.” - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), Paterson.

- PolitickerNJ


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