A transition of power

A transition of power
Mayor Cory Booker, center, with Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, left, and jazz pianist Eric Lewis

NEWARK – On the city’s 21st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, 72 hours before Obama’s presidential inaugural, Newarkers at Grace Episcopal Church rejoiced in a ceremony of blended Obama-MILK symbolism that apparently left no room or reason for last minute retaliatory elbows thrown at the outgoing Bush administration. 

In short, the most joyfully considered and relevant transition of power here was from King to Obama. 

“I’m a child of the 1960s. There are still a few of us around, right, Mildred?” said Gov. Jon Corzine, finding Council President Mildred Crump’s smiling face in the crowd. “King defined our aspirations, and what we could seek to find. When he was killed in Memphis he was talking about a living wage. We have a long way to go, but at this moment, when Barack Obama is sworn in, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream will become a reality. 

“God bless the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the presidency of Barack Obama,” added Corzine, and moments later, Crump cried, “That’s my governor,” as people in the crowd lurched to their feet.

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Booker confirms reports he doesn't want LG job

Booker confirms reports he doesn't want LG job
Mayor Cory Booker, right, and Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, who keynoted a Newark event honoring MLK today.

NEWARK - When Barack Obama won the presidential election, politicos saw instant inner circle implications for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a vociferous Obama supporter and "rising star" in Obama's words, who nonetheless had insisted back in Denver that even if Vice Presidential Joe Biden dropped out and Chicago called him, he was committed to running for reelection as mayor.

When Obama made his cabinet appointments and the mayor remained local and not primed to fill the ambassadorship to the Court of St. James or some other ceremonial post, the back chatter decibel level started rising about Booker and lieutenant governor.

No, he probably wouldn't take the second banana job outright, said sources, but maybe he would bite at the properly framed offer to be Gov. Jon Corzine's running mate.

Seventy-two hours before Obama's swearing-in ceremony at a "Sing in Praise of Martin Luther King, Jr." event at the Grace Episcopal Church on Broad Street, Booker said for the record it won't happen.

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Lonegan energizes the room in Freehold, says rivals' plan is to hide Christie

Lonegan energizes the room in Freehold, says rivals' plan is to hide Christie
GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan in Freehold on Thursday night.

FREEHOLD – A guy in a plaid shirt arrives late to the packed Elks Lodge meeting for Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan. Oversized boots. Laces untied. You can picture the four-by-four parked out front as he tugs off work gloves to get thickset fingers around a glossy “Dump Corzine, Elect Lonegan” bumper sticker. 

Lonegan’s up at the front of the room, going all out. 

“There are two races in the country this year, governor’s races in Virginia and in New Jersey,” says the former Bogota mayor, leader of the state’s conservative movement. “Virginia’s kind of mellow. That means all eyes are going to be on New Jersey. New Jersey’s the number one race. If we don’t stand and fight for conservative Republican principles, we’ll be sent off to political Siberia for the next 20 years.” 

He promises the Battle of Trenton all over again, with big government Democrats and their schemes for affordable housing mandates in the role of high-hatted Hessian strongmen and Lonegan troops the tough guy Continentals who tramped across Jersey to Pennsylvania then came back over the river again to blow out the imperial forces.  

In a two-revolution metaphorical stroke of compacted New Jersey history, Lonegan suggests, too, that his anti-government battle on the Delaware will reclaim the state’s industrial jobs base that once prompted state fathers to declare unequivocally, “Trenton makes, the world takes.”  

“More men died here in the American Revolution than in any other state,” says Lonegan. “It’s only appropriate that it comes back to New Jersey, where (Democratic Gov.) Jon Corzine is so much better equipped, better financed. But let me tell you, by the time I’m done with Jon Corzine, he’s going to have to move into one of those government COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) units.”

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GOP poll shows soft support for governor; economy as number one state issues

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway today released a statewide poll of 500 registered New Jersey voters showing Gov. Jon Corzine unable to reach 50 percent in head-to-head contests with each of three Republican candidates, even as a generic Democrat running statewide still beats a Republican candidate by eight points.

The survey also defines the economy and taxes as by far the most important issues for voters in this gubernatorial election year, suggesting a Republican candidate who can corner a message on those issues could make it a close race for the incumbent governor.

“Corzine begins 2009 with a respectable, albeit soft, base of support, as 42 percent of those surveyed say they would definitely (11 percent) or probably (31 percent) vote for him,” said Conway,  president & CEO of the polling company™, inc./ WomanTrend.

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Corzine has narrow lead over Christie in new poll

Gov.  Jon Corzine has a 43%-40% approval rating and leads Republican Christopher Christie 36%-32%, according to a new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll released this morning.  Corzine leads three other potential Republican candidates: Steve Lonegan 45%-29%, Rick Merkt 41%-27%, and Brian Levine 43%-27%.

More than six out of ten New Jersey voters (61%) say that Corzine should release his personal e-mails with Carla Katz just to “clear the air,” while just 29% believe he should keep them private.  35% of voters say they are less likely to vote for Christie because he served in George W. Bush’s administration, while 14% say more likely.  It makes no difference to half the voters.

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Rasmussen poll gives Christie 'slight edge' over Corzine

A poll released today by Rasmussen Reports shows former U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie holding a two percentage point lead over Gov. Jon S. Corzine. 

According to the telephone survey, Christie leads Corzine 42 percent to 40 percent, “essentially a toss-up given the poll's margin of sampling error,” according to Rasmussen. Five percent support some other candidate, and 13 percent are undecided. 

The poll says 44 percent of voters approve of the way that Corzine has performed as governor while 54 percent disapprove. Those figures include 12 percent who strongly approve and 32 percent who strongly disapprove.

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Dressel jumps back in race for Bergen Dem chair

Dressel jumps back in race for Bergen Dem chair
Richard "Buzzy" Dressel

HACKENSACK - Local labor leader Richard "Buzzy" Dressel threw himself back into the bullring today for the chairmanship of the Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO).

"In light of the fact that Ferriero cancelled tonight’s long awaited Executive Committee meeting, I cannot in good faith walk away," said Dressel. "This is just another example of how the 'process' is so screwed up.  You have a chairman that spoke of his resignation last week, then called for a meeting this evening, fired the legal counsel that the party put in when Oury and Ferrireo were indicted, and then cancelled tonight’s meeting. 

"As I understand the 'rules,' the meeting tonight was to vote on having the county convention next week," Dressel added. "Now, the committee does not vote, and an indicted, resigning chairman merely puts a convention in place to vote in his puppet.  He is starting to make Saddam Hussein look like a benevolent dictator."

He'll face party fundraiser Michael Kasparian, the choice of former Chairman Joe Ferriero, who has substantial party support in the executive committee from the likes of County Executive Dennis McNerney and Sheriff Leo McGuire.

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: October 2nd

Kean, Webber join Pennacchio at patriotism-charged Morris County fundraiser WHIPPANY - Joe Pennacchio planned on talking about New Jersey politics, the usual "Trenton stuff", at his annual Republican fundraiser tonight -- but then he asked his wife for advice. (Brush/PolitickerNJ) http://www.politickernj.com/83166/kean-webber-join-pennacchio-patriotism-charged-morris-county-fundraiser      Belgard slams MacArthur's pay equity positions; compares them...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

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In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... 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

"Our future Senate President someday. We're going to keep banging away at that, Tom." - Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), referring to Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21).

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