Mueller: 'we're running like we're ten points behind'

Mueller: 'we're running like we're ten points behind'
Obama State Director Tricia Mueller on Election Day

 PRINCETON – Tricia Mueller, state director for the Obama campaign, emerges from her office at headquarters here off Route 1 , threading her way between campaign workers to the front door.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve done, looking at the poll numbers, but we’re running as though we’re ten points behind,” says Mueller, nursing an early morning coffee.

The campaign has 6,000 people in the streets statewide, she says, and they’re in evidence here in the Princeton area, brandishing Obama for America signs and waving at commuters.

Volunteers take calls at a massive phone bank pushed against the front door. There’s evidently a problem in Montgomery Township. Three machines are down.

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Battle stations in the Central Ward

Battle stations in the Central Ward
Booker emerges from voting booth at University High School.

Newark – There’s a big show of Booker force in the Central Ward that even has hardened campaign veterans backing former Councilman Charles Bell doing an early gutcheck .

“It’s David and Goliath,”’ says Central Ward Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Brown, watching the fusion of unions working for Mayor Cory Booker’s candidate and their fellow Laborer, Eddie Osborne, overrun the giant Central Ward, pop. 58,000.

“Their forces outnumber us, 10-1,” says Brown. “And they’ve got a drag operation going, hoping new Obama voters are going to drag down the ballot to vote for Osborne. I’ve been telling people not to confront them. Just stay in your spots. We can’t win if we confront them. They’re too many of them.”

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Bell v. Osborne

Bell v. Osborne
Eddie Osborne, foreground

NEWARK – Thanksgiving came early in the Central Ward as Eddie Osborne and company hit the streets with turkeys for seniors, while the same lone, apparently paid, sentinel stood at the corner of McCarter Highway and Market Street with a sign dissing Charles Bell.

The whole ward is wired with candidates but it’s Bell versus Osborne overtime.

To look at the cityscape on its face, Osborne has the edge, for here in the city’s most populous ward there are Osborne signs, Osborne television ads, Osborne organizational muscle, vans mounted with megaphones and high visibility t-shirted LIUNA union workers passing out, yes, turkeys.

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The long march in Passaic doesn't end on Tuesday

The long march in Passaic doesn't end on Tuesday
Dr. Alex Blanco

PASSAIC – It’s bleak on Monday.  The sky never disgorges the rain and people stand around in the streets and talk about what’s going to go down here tomorrow.

There’s one day left in this five-man race for a seat left vacant by a man in federal prison, and most have a good idea about who’s wearing wires and where the money’s coming from, but no one knows who’s going to win.

Not if they’re telling the truth.

Campaign headquarters are almost up to full strength several hours before real estate developer Jose Sandoval, physician Alex Blanco, code enforcement inspector/School Board President Vinny Capuana, bail bondsman Carl Ellen and landlord/City Councilman Joe Garcia head to the local Baptist Church for a final collective prayer on the eve of Election Day.

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Garrett says this year is no different

Garrett says this year is no different
A Dennis Shulman volunteer shows off his handiwork with a Scott Garrett puppet

HOBOKEN – Between greeting commuters boarding a train headed to northern Bergen County, U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) said that Democratic challenger Dennis Shulman hasn’t given him any more of a scare than opponents in elections past.

“No. But I take every race very seriously, and we’re doing the same here,” he said. “I know that the DCCC has become involved in this race, and that of course has not occurred in the past.”

Still, Garrett acknowledged that the Democrats appeared poised for big victories in the House and Senate. But he doesn’t fear the wrath of a Democratic wave, despite his conservatism. Even if that happens, Garrett said, voters in the district may split the ticket: vote for Obama, and yet still vote for him – the most conservative member of the New Jersey delegation.

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On Election Day eve, analysts offer predictions

On Election Day eve, analysts offer predictions

It's election eve, which means that it's time to journey up the Ivory Tower to hear what political analysts think will happen tomorrow.The four analysts talked to today were unanimous in predicting a big win for Barack Obama over John McCain both nationally and in New Jersey, and were nearly certain that incumbent U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) would easily beat down the challenge by former Rep. Dick Zimmer.   They were also unanimous in picking state Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) over Republican Medford Mayor Chris Myers in the 3rd Congressional District. Three out of four predicated that U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) would beat challenger Dennis Shulman in the 5th District, but by a narrow margin.  Three out of four also felt that Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) had the edge in her race against state Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Flemington) in the 7th Congressional District, while one gave Lance a narrow victory.

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Dickey, former Assembly Speaker, dies

Dickey, former Assembly Speaker, dies
William K. Dickey (1920-2008)

Former Assembly Speaker William K. Dickey died early this morning at age 88 after battling Parkinsons Disease and Diabetes.  

A Republican from Camden County, Dickey was elected to the State Assembly in 1963 and was re-elected in four times.  He was defeated in the 1973 Watergate landslide, and lost comeback bids in 1975 and 1977.

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The Back Room

The brother of James Michael Foley criticizes American government

The brother of slain American journalist James Michael Foley this morning criticized the American government for not doing more to help his brother.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 22nd

Fight of the Week: Donovan v. Pascrell Fight of the Week Bergen County Executive Kathe Donovan v. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)     Paramus mayor's race: Candidates in closely-divided Bergen borough spar over taxes, towing issues PARAMUS - When voters go to the polls in November...

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Five ideas for strengthening the state's political parties

By Jeff Brindle An August 15, 2014 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler reaffirmed the place of political parties in the State’s electoral system. By rejecting arguments that unaffiliated voters should have a right to vote in... Read More >


(8-20-14) Can You Take the ‘Partisan’ out of ‘Partisan Politics’? - Redistricting will not take place for another seven years. Yet the debate has already... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"But things get touchy between LaBarbiera and LoCicero when it comes to taxes, the bete noire of politics in the statewide election bellwether, Bergen County."

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