Beaten in 2006 re-election bid, Bell may be poised for a comeback

NEWARK - On the day Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone lost her council seat in the courtroom of assignment Judge Patricia Costello, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the City Council and Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) all supported her in her effort to appeal the judge’s decision.

But they also prepared for the very real possibility that Rone may lose her second-to-last chance gamble in the appellate division, and then fall with her last shot in the state Supreme Court.

Former Central Ward Councilman Charles Bell appears to be the candidate most likely to generate support from among the city's anti-Booker factions. Charone Montayne, daughter of Freeholder Blonnie Watson, may also make a run, but as a registered Republican she must be considered a longshot.

On the mayor’s side, the long-groomed Nakia White emerged as a late in the day option to replace an unsalvageable Rone.

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Newark Council stands with Rone

Members of the Newark City Council issued a statement this evening Council President Mildred Crump: Politicker file photoCouncil President Mildred Crump: Politicker file photoindicating that they remain supportive of Councilwoman Dana Rone as she responds to a ruling by Judge Patricia K. Costello to have Rone removed from her position as Central Ward Councilwoman.

"We will continue to support our colleague as she goes through the appeal process," said Council President Mildred Crump. "As the Central Ward Councilwoman, Dana has proven to be a very strong advocate for the under-served populations in Newark. She has been very vocal on issues from ensuring there is ample low-income housing to improving education for residents in the Central Ward and beyond. She is undeniably an asset to the Newark Municipal Council. We will stand behind her as she continues to work through the legal processes."

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Manzo thinks Rone decision may apply to Healy

Former Assemblyman Lou Manzo, a potential Jersey City mayoral hopeful for next year, thinks he might have a short cut to kicking Mayor Jerramiah Healy out of office.

Manzo plans to hire an attorney through his public advocacy office to review whether a judge’s decision that Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone should forfeit her office after her obsruction of justice conviction parallels that of Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who was convicted of disorderly conduct over a 2006 incident in Bradley Beach.

“My advocacy office is actually going to review it and see if it does apply. And if it does, we’re going to take a civil action on it,” said Manzo.

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Conservatives wait to see where Christie stands

As U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie prepares to run for Governor, he has the luxury of a clean slate ideologically: Getty Images PhotoAs U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie prepares to run for Governor, he has the luxury of a clean slate ideologically: Getty Images Photo
Yesterday, when veteran Republican political operative Dan Gallic announced that he was forming an organization to draft conservative activist Steve Lonegan into the Governor's race next year, he lamented the candidates Republicans typically choose for statewide races as "weak-kneed wimpy moderates who believe in nothing and are afraid to throw a punch."

Today, Gallic said that language doesn't apply to the two other most high profile potential candidates next year: U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and biotech millionaire John Crowley.

"I was referring to the past slew of candidates who have lost by 9 or 10 points," said Gallic, who managed conservative State Sen. Joe Pennacchio's run for U.S. Senate earlier this year. "So far what I've seen is a far better group of candidates than the Republicans have put up in quite some time, all of which have no ties to the establishment at this point."

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Fonseca: Booker hopeful of appeals process in Rone case

NEWARK - For the moment, Mayor Cory Booker stands by Central Ward Councilwoman Dana Rone, whose appeal to remain a councilwoman was struck down today by an assignment judge.

"We’re supporting Dana and we hope there’s an appeal process and that she is kept on as the central ward councilwoman," said Booker chief of staff Pablo Fonseca.

Newark sources say former School Board candidates James Bennett and Tynesha McHarris may make a play for Rone’s vacated Central Ward council seat.

But as to whether Booker is considering either of them as a replacement, Fonseca told, "no comment," and reiterated what he says is the mayor’s desire that Rone would prevail at the appellate state Supreme Court level.

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Two McCains to visit N.J. on Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate John McCain will be in New Jersey next Tuesday for an evening fundraiser at the Marriott in Teaneck.  McCain’s wife, Cindy, will attend a fundraiser that morning at the Rumson home of GOP fundraiser Lewis Eisenberg.  Both events will benefit the McCain campaign.

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Judge throws out Hawkins lawsuit in West Orange

Citing the statute of limitations, U.S. District Judge William J. Martini today moved to dismiss a complaint filed by Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., against the West Orange Police Department and the Township of West Orange.

"The Court finds that the applicable one- and two-year statutes of limitation indeed do bar plaintiff’s federal claims since they arise from Defendants’ conduct in mid-2004 while plaintiff waited until late 2007 to file this complaint," Martini wrote in his decision.

Hawkins, who was elected mayor of Orange on May 13, is on a leave of absence from his job as a patrolman with the West Orange Police Department.

The suit he filed against the West Orange Police Department and the township asserted that West Orange gave hiring and salary preferences to other officers based on their Irish heritage.

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Political battle stations stand up in Rone aftermath

NEWARK - Although its members can choose to leave the seat Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Politicker file photoNewark Mayor Cory Booker: Politicker file photovacant, the City Council has the statutory power to appoint an interim replacement for Central Ward Councilwoman Dana Rone.

At the moment there are no obvious candidates to replace her.

The street buzz all week in Newark was that Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow would back off from her recommendation that the book be thrown at Rone, who was convicted of obstructing justice and under the law had to renounce her council seat.

Dow did back off, issuing a letter to Essex County Judge Patricia Costello to waive forfeiture in Rone’s case.

North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato: Politicker file photoNorth Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato: Politicker file photoBut Costello didn’t see leniency as an option here, and barred Rone from serving on the council - and from serving elected office, period.

If Rone’s abrupt exit leaves the field of individuals open - and sources say former Central Ward Councilman Charles Bell may be interested in running for the vacant seat - there are two obvious machines with a stake in Newark’s second largest ward.

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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 >


(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

"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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