Counting stops for a few hours in Monmouth as AG's Office dispatches monitor

Counting stops for a few hours in Monmouth as AG's Office dispatches monitor

FREEHOLD – A squat drab building on the side of a highway could describe a lot of places in New Jersey, but this one warrants a double take because a state trooper stands out front, and operatives come and go, frantically talking on their cellphones in the rain.

It’s two days after Election Day, but there remains a political war going on in Monmouth and here at the Clerk’s Office on Halls-Mill Road represents ground zero.

In a fight to secure a second seat on the Freeholder Board, Democratic candidate Amy Mallet leads Republican candidate John Curley by 18 votes, 135,688 to 135,670 as representatives from both parties jockey in the background for position in case a legal challenge goes down.

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Payne says he wants to focus on domestic issues, talks down ambassadorship rumors

Payne says he wants to focus on domestic issues, talks down ambassadorship rumors
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark)

NEWARK – Surrounded by a core of South Ward supporters, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark) watched the results come in last night and celebrated as he watched Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il.) win.

“I was very pleased with the victory and I’m also pleased that some of the concerns I had have been calmed a bit,” he said.

At the Democratic National Convention in August, Payne felt confident about Obama’s chances, and predicted the only potential barrier to an Obama victory would be race.

The Wall Street meltdown removed that as an issue, in the congressman’s view.

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Schaer proves crucial in Blanco win

Schaer proves crucial in Blanco win
Schaer campaigns for Blanco on Election Day

PASSAIC – Yesterday’s mayoral victory by physician Alex Blanco in a 62 percent turnout election depended heavily on the endorsement of Acting Mayor/Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic).

The city is split in half, with the 3rd and 2nd wards on the south side of town and 4th and 1st wards to the north.

In the heart of Schaer’s Orthodox Jewish community, Ward 3 totals show that Blanco earned 1,965 of his 3,859 total votes, according to the Passaic City Clerk’s Office.

That’s where nearly a third of the city’s total 25,543 registered voters are concentrated.

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Corruption issue proves toothless in Bergen

With two prominent Democratic leaders indicted, a subpoena dropped on the clerk of the Democratic controlled freeholder board shortly before the election, and running against three incumbents who all had been voted out of municipal offices in their hometowns over the last couple years, Bergen County Republicans still could not pick up a single freeholder seat.

“Those guys did an outstanding job, to be honest. We were in this thing right until the end. So from that perspective, I thought it was a huge improvement – especially over four years ago,” said Republican consultant Thom Ammirato, who ran the campaign.

It’s not as if the Republicans had everything working for them. Ammirato argued that, despite the corruption issue, Democrats had a myriad of advantages, most of all having Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, not to mention the power of incumbency. Presidential years in Bergen County are generally the strongest ones for Democrats. It’s the off years that Republicans tend to come closer.

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'All politics is local'

'All politics is local'
Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex)

The unlikely political tag team of state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex) and North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato that felled Mayor Cory Booker’s candidate in the Central Ward on Tuesday called for Obama-spirit healing in the city in the aftermath.

“I respect him as the mayor,” Adubato said of Booker. “I predict things are going to get better. Let’s face it; this Obama victory yesterday means anything is possible. We have a lot of hope about America.

“I take that win by Obama in a country where 15 percent of America is black, and say if he can be president, why can’t we all work together? “

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Magazzu basks in big win, will step down as county chairman

Cumberland County Democratic Chairman and Freeholder Director Lou Magazzu said that he’s flattered that local Republicans made him an issue in their campaign, even though he wasn’t on the ballot.

Democrats not only took complete control of the freeholder board, but took over the county surrogate’s office and knocked off an incumbent Republican sheriff.  Altogether, they went five for five.  Now, the only county-wide Republican elected official left is County Clerk Gloria Noto.

“I was delighted that the Republicans decided to make me the issue.  When you make somebody the issue, it either becomes a repudiation or a vindication. They made that bet and they bet wrong,” said Magazzu.  “But it certainly wasn’t just me. In fact, I was the least part of the equation.  What we had was good organization, good fundraising, one consistent message, great candidates and unbelievable support from labor.”

Feeling comfortable about his party’s domination of the county, Magazzu said he’s ready to step down as county chairman to devote more time to his job as Freeholder Director.  He’s starting to look for a replacement today.

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Karrow 'seriously thinking' about state Senate run

Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington) said today that she is thinking about running for state Sen. Leonard Lance's (R-Flemington) seat, but she doesn’t want to make any announcements just yet.

“I am seriously thinking about it. However, I have to say that my friend Leonard Lance just spent a year of his life running for this seat in Congress, and he really deserves a week to revel in the victory, and I don’t want to diminish any of the press. This is his week,” she said. “I think he just wants to enjoy the limelight and steal his thunder, and I will not be part of stealing his thunder.”

Asked whether that comment was a jab at her district-mate, Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington), who earlier today told PolitickerNJ.com that he planned to run for the seat, Karrow said “I didn’t say that.”

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

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Op-Ed

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 >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... 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 »
 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

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

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