In the midst of a rift, Coutinho tries to focus Newark's political class

Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark) on Adams Street in the Ironbound: Politicker photoAssemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark) on Adams Street in the Ironbound: Politicker photo 

NEWARK - Standing outside East Ward Democratic Party headquarters on Adams Street, Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark) occupies that central part of the 29th Legislative District that encompasses north and south Newark.

Coutinho’s running mates, state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-Newark) come out of the north and south wards Newark respectively.

The East Ward, which is made up Portugese and Italians, and fits into the Ironbound neighborhood, is Coutinho’s home.

"We’ve always been an independent ward," says Joseph Parlavecchio, the assemblyman’s mentor, who on this day sits inside party HQ, giving an interview to a young woman who’s writing a book about city politics.

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Doherty to chair Draft Lonegan committee

Assemblyman Michael Doherty today became the first elected official to endorse conservative activist Steve Lonegan's prospective gubernatorial bid.

Doherty announced today that he will chair the recently formed Committee to Draft Steve Lonegan for Governor, and called Lonegan "New Jersey's Ronald Reagan."

The committee was jump-started earlier this week by Republican political consultant Dan Gallic.

“No one speaks out louder or stronger for taxpayers and in defense of our conservative values than Steve Lonegan. He is not only the strongest candidate we can run against Jon Corzine, he is the best man for the job,” said Doherty in a statement.

Doherty, who’s among the legislature’s most conservative members, flirted with a U.S. Senate run last year, and was the only New Jersey legislator to endorse Republican Ron Paul for president.

“Lonegan is not only our only hope to save our state, but our last hope.”

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McHose says she's open to Lt. Governor bid

McHose says she's open to Lt. Governor bid

Assemblywoman Alison McHose is mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for Lt. Governor in 2009: Getty Images PhotoAssemblywoman Alison McHose is mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for Lt. Governor in 2009: Getty Images Photo
Among the many names bandied about as potential Republican gubernatorial running mates next year is Assemblywoman Allison Littell McHose (R-Franklin), who represents the third generation of a Sussex County political dynasty.

Just before speaking at a news conference attacking the Clean Elections program that she took part in last year, McHose indicated that she was open to the possibility of running for the newly created position of Lieutenant Governor.

“I’d be flattered and would consider it. I’m not actively seeking to promote myself like some on the other side,” she said. “I’m a humble politician.”

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Sires: Dems have economic issues and diversity on their side; calls on Obama to pick Clinton

U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) in his new district office in Journal Square.: Politicker photoU.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) in his new district office in Journal Square.: Politicker photo 

JERSEY CITY - The Democrats have the economic argument on their side in this presidential year, in part because they’re more in touch with a broad swathe of the country’s population, argues U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York).

In a small but significant example, Sires says the Republican Party does not have a diverse caucus in the U.S. Congress like the Democrats, and that has made the GOP gradually more isolated.

"When you look at our caucus, you see everyone," says the freshman congressman. "Then you look at the Republicans, and they’re all the same."

It’s a striking snapshot to Sires, who represents many ethnic communities in his 13th Congressional District.

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On ARC, Sires confident he’s on track with feds, now it’s Trenton’s turn

JERSEY CITY - U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) been in Congress for almost two years, and he says his second year was a big improvement on the first, in part because he feels focused in his new job as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

"It takes a while to be effective because it’s very much based on seniority," Sires said of the Congress. "The first year was very difficult. I was new. The entire Democratic Congress was new.

"But I have a mission now," said the freshman congressman. "I still enjoy being on the foreign affairs committee very much, but I also have transportation now and that’s critical. My job is to go after the money for transportation and infrastructure projects."

Sires has confidence he can get federal money for the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) Tunnel, but he needs the state to get in gear.

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Cryan engages Kyrillos in early gubernatorial proxy fight

In what could turn out to be the first proxy fight of the 2009 race for governor, Democratic State Chairman Joe Cryan chastised State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown) for his claim that public corruption prosecutions by U.S.Attorney Chris Christie helped end “Christmas Tree” budget items.

"Mr. Kyrillos should get his facts straight and get the story right,” said Cryan. “It was Governor Corzine who did away with Christmas Tree spending and it's Governor Corzine who has reformed other aspects of the budget process, effectively changing spending practices by both political parties for years, if not decades.”

“Christmas tree items” referred to legislative pork, often in the form of last minute expenditures added to the budget for legislators’ pet projects. Corzine vowed to end them for the 2009 budget, while they drew scrutiny and subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s office during previous years.

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Rasmussen: Lautenberg breaks 50%

Frank Lautenberg has an 18-point lead over Dick Zimmer in New Jersey's  U.S. Senate contest: Getty Images PhotoFrank Lautenberg has an 18-point lead over Dick Zimmer in New Jersey's U.S. Senate contest: Getty Images Photo
A Rasmussen poll shows Sen. Frank Lautenberg hitting the 50% mark that pundits say is so crucial for any reelection effort.

The survey puts Lautenberg at 51% to Zimmer’s 33%. That’s up two points for Lautenberg last month, when Rasmussen put him at 49% to Zimmer’s 36%. Lautenberg is supported by 78% of the state’s Democrats, while Zimmer is backed by 72% of Republicans. Lautenberg has a commanding lead with the state’s unaffiliated voters, besting Zimmer 45% to 28%.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to have a high single-digit lead over John McCain.

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The Back Room

Trenton mayor's race: Worthy campaign funds surge according to filed ELEC report

Trenton mayoral candidate Walker M. Worthy, Jr. raised more than $75,000 during the most recent fundraising period, boosting his total campaign contributions to date to close to $110,000, according to a written statement issued by his campaign. 

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 15, 2014

East Side Neighborhood Association hosts packed Paterson Mayor's Forum PATERSON – On the eastern end of Market Street stands a restaurant amid the clinging remnants of industry and a city’s trampled history, where inside under chandeliers in front of a crowd of 100 people, seven candidates for mayor made...

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Op-Ed

Ryan's Budget Plan

BY ALBIO SIRES This week, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), released yet again another budget with misplaced priorities that will slow our economic recovery and destroy American jobs.  Rather than address the priorities of the... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"A break-in occurred early this morning at the offices owned by Carl Sharif and two others at 660 Stuyvesant Ave. in Irvington, New Jersey. Several items are reported missing, including two laptop computers owned by Carl Sharif. There is also reported damage in the building. The Irvington police were called and a report was filed." - Jeffries campaign spokeswoman Lupe Todd

- PolitickerNJ.com

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