Oops, McCain did it again

After watching McCain's new ad mocking Barack Obama as a self-important celebrity along the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, I was inspired by the last time Britney got involved with a politician in a commercial, back when the media was still in love with the straight-talk express.

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Corzine hears budgetary echoes in New York gov's woes

HILLSIDE - Gov. Jon Corzine thought he heard a familiar tone of woe Gov. Jon Corzine: Politicker file photoGov. Jon Corzine: Politicker file photowhen New York’s new governor, David Paterson, addressed the dire state of the New York State budget this week.

"It sounded like my state of the budget, which I gave in February of last year," Corzine said.

Paterson on Tuesday announced a special legislative session to confront what he described as an economic crisis confronting New York State, including a budget shortfall of $6.4 billion.

Corzine this year shaved $600 million out of the state budget to help harness a state structural deficit of $2.5 billion, even as states like Pennsylvania and California are taking their own approaches to similar financial crises.

In an economic downturn nationwide in which food and gas prices are up and home values down, "This is crunch time on Main Street," said the governor - and most excruciatingly for the poor.

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Princeton Borough Hall evacuated

Princeton Borough Hall was evacuated today after the arrival of a suspicious package that was suspected of containing a dangerous substance.  A hazmat team was called and the incident is being investigated.  The incident is contained to Borough Hall, according to an e-mail from the Princeton University Public Safety department.

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Hester joins Assembly Democratic staff

Tom Hester, Jr. has joined the Assembly Majority Staff as Associate Executive Director.Tom Hester, Jr. has joined the Assembly Majority Staff as Associate Executive Director.Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts has picked Tom Hester, Jr., a veteran state house reporter, to serve as the new Associate Executive Director for Communications in the Assembly Majority Office. Hester replaces Mike Muller, who left this month to run the coordinated Democratic campaign. Hester has covered the Legislature and the Governor’s office for the Associated Press and the Trenton Times, and worked for the Express Times and the Hunterdon County Democrat. His father, Tom Hester, Sr., was also a well-known statehouse reporter.

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State gives ELEC more work without budget increases

Dr. Frederick Herrmann, the longtime ELEC Executive DirectorDr. Frederick Herrmann, the longtime ELEC Executive DirectorFrom time to time, the New Jersey legislature will pass new regulations to constrain politicians' behavior, such as the pay-to play laws and the proposed clean elections law that would result in public financing of campaigns.  But the Election Law Enforcement Commission, the regulatory agency charged with monitoring compliance is not receiving funding increases equal to these new responsibilities.

Just ask Democratic State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who had to amend the governor's fiscal 2009 budget in May to stop the state from cutting $750,000 in funding from ELEC's administrative budget in order to give it a more modest cut of $250,000, to $4.647 million.

"What I did was lobby, and state in front of the state government committee how important I thought it was," Weinberg said. "It was nothing heroic.  I was just calling attention to the facts here."

Republican State Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton), who teaches election and campaign finance law at Seton Hall Law School, also pushed for the reinstatement of funding, although he believed that no funding should have been cut whatsoever. When the cuts were first announced in April, Baroni wrote a letter to Gov. Jon Corzine about ELEC's budget troubles, including its inability to fill 21 vacancies in its staff with present funding levels.

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Stender campaign rids itself of Cohen donations

Stender campaign rids itself of Cohen donations

Linda Stender’s campaign has returned all of the donations it received from former Assemblyman Neil Cohen, according to Stender Chief of Staff Ed Oatman.

“We cut the check on Monday,” he said.

Cohen is under investigation for possessing child pornography on his legislative office computer. He resigned on Monday, which led the campaign to immediately give back the donations.

The Stender campaign returned a total of about $6,000 in Cohen donations from both the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.

"Whatever he's given us total, it's all given back," said Oatman.

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Morin wants Cohen campaign funds frozen

Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin today asked that funds for Assemblyman Neil Cohen’s reelection campaign be frozen, along with a joint campaign account Cohen held with Assemblyman and Democratic State Chairman Joe Cryan.

“As the investigation of child pornography allegations apparently continues against former Assemblyman Neil Cohen and election laws mandate that a special election be held this November as a result of the legislative vacancy, the Union County Republicans are calling for both his individual and joint legislative campaign accounts with Assemblyman Cryan to be frozen until the investigation is complete,” said Morin in a statement.

If the allegations against Cohen prove true, Morin said, he Cohen and Cryan should contribute the funds to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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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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Op-Ed

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 >

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

"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

- PolitickerNJ.com

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