The Group heads to Chicago on Monday

The big money Democratic Party fundraisers who backed Hillary Clinton in the primary but have now committed to supporting Barack Obama, accepted an invitation to fly out to Chicago Monday to sit down with Obama’s campaign manager.

There’s a Jersey connection there, as David Plouffe managed Bob Torricelli’s successful U.S. senate campaign in 1996.

Those members of the "Group" who plan to head to Obama’s Midwest base of operations for a three-hour confab include Zenon Christodoulou, Al DeCotiis, John Graham and William Harla.

"We were asked to come out by the campaign so that they could introduce us to all of the main people they want us to get to know in the head office," said Christodoulou.

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Latina group endorses Corzine assistant counsel to replace Cohen

A group dedicated to increasing the number of elected Hispanic female officials has endorsed Annette Quijano, assistant counsel to Gov. Corzine, for Assembly in District 20.

The seat has been vacant since former Assemblyman Neil Cohen resigned late last month after child pornography was allegedly found on his legislative office computer. 

The group, Latinas United for Political Empowerment (LUPE), is headed up by former Attorney General Zulima Farber. 

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Zeitz issues debate challenge to Smith

Josh Zeitz, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 4th Josh Zeitz: Politicker file photoJosh Zeitz: Politicker file photoCongressional district, today mailed U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) an invitation to four public debates, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglass debates.

Zeitz asked Smith to join him at one public debate in each of the 4th district’s counties.

"The rising cost of food, gas, health care, and education is hurting many working families," wrote Zeitz. "People have a right to know how each of us proposes to address these grave problems, and they have a right to challenge us in a public forum.

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Healy and Fulop: pen pals

Ostensibly, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop are engaged in a polite exchange of ideas. In reality, the two are enmeshed an early battle for political positioning before next year’s mayoral race, with mutual contempt lurking barely beneath the surface.

Healy yesterday proposed an amendment to Fulop’s anti-pay-to-play ballot initiative that would, in effect, take it off the ballot in November if passed. Healy wants candidates to file financial disclosures. If they have a net worth of $2 million or make over $500,000 a year, he thinks they should be exempt from a ban on taking contributions from vendors that do business with the city.

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Schundler to run for Jersey City Mayor

Bret Schundler, who served as mayor of Jersey City from 1992 to 2001, will challenge incumbent Jerramiah Healy in 2009Bret Schundler, who served as mayor of Jersey City from 1992 to 2001, will challenge incumbent Jerramiah Healy in 2009
In 1999, the late William F. Buckley recognized a rising star in conservative Republican circles named Bret Schundler, who had been mayor of Jersey City for six years. Seeing Schundler as a potential presidential prospect, he wrote in the New York Post: "Look for him in 2008."

Nine years and two gubernatorial losses later, any presidential dreams Schundler once harbored are gone. But we can look for him in 2009, because Schundler has all but made it official, acknowledging that he plans to run to return to Grove Street next year, eight years after he left the office.

"This is not a formal kickoff announcement, but I do plan to run," said Schundler in a phone interview.

Schundler served between late 1992 and 2001, when he decided to forego reelection to run for governor. But the Schundler of 2009 will likely bare little resemblance to the conservative candidate who unsuccessfully sought the highest office in the state in 2001 and 2005 - at least not if he can help it.

"I think I'm pretty much done with partisan politics," he said.

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Conservative group's poll shows Zimmer and Lautenberg in dead heat

The conservative anti-tax group Club for Growth released its own New Jersey Senate poll this morning that shows Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer in a statistical dead heat with incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg.

According to the group’s survey of 300 likely voters, Zimmer has a one point lead over Lautenberg – 36% to 35%.

The group found that 72% of survey respondents had heard of Dick Zimmer, but only about 40% know enough about him to rate him.

The group also found that 43% of respondents had a favorable impression of Gov. Corzine, while 44% had an unfavorable impression of him.

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Superdelegate says she was dumped from DNC post because she switched from Clinton to Obama

Superdelegate says she was dumped from DNC post because she switched from Clinton to Obama

Most of New Jersey's Democratic party leadership backed Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination: Getty Images PhotoMost of New Jersey's Democratic party leadership backed Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination: Getty Images Photo
Democratic National Committeewoman Christine “Roz” Samuels said today that she was dumped from the New Jersey delegation last night because she flipped her support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama back in February.

Samuels said she was called yesterday morning at 8:00 a.m. by Democratic State Chairman Joseph Cryan, who told her that Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen wanted her off the ticket.

“One day notice,” she said. “They called me yesterday morning and told me I was off the ticket. And I said ‘You mean for what I did way in February? This is retaliation for February?’”

Samuels said that she was told she was thrown off the ticket because of her switch. Samuels officially switched to Obama on February 14th – less than one week before two South Jersey super delegates switched – but long before most north Jersey party leaders left the Clinton camp.

Samuels’s replacement will be former Assemblywoman Stephanie Bush-Baskette, who’s also from Essex County.

“I really have to find out what is the time limitation for pulling someone off a ticket. You can’t tell someone that morning the morning of the meeting. Usually you give a two week notice to someone if you’re going to fire them from the job,” she said, adding that she has run two recent successful Obama events in Montclair. “It’s just a vindictive thing because I had a couple good meetings, and I think (Thigpen) feels that way because he didn’t do it first.”

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

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The future of NJ Politics should not be politicians investigating politicians

By JON BRAMNICK Voices around the country agree with our concern that "bipartisan committee led by John Wisniewski is partisan." Below are observers who agree Wisneiwski's committee is not bipartisan: Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Democrats made a mistake... Read More >


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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop



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