Shulman and Garrett spar at synagogue

Shulman and Garrett spar at synagogue

WOODCLIFF LAKE – At a temple on a hill overlooking the Bergen County portion of the 5th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) and his challenger, Dennis Shulman, engaged in an occasionally contentious 90-minute debate focused heavily on the economy, health care, foreign policy, energy and even a little scripture.

Over 200 people showed up to watch tonight’s debate at Temple Emanuel, the first of three between the two candidates.

It could have just as easily been a match of wits between President Bush against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), however, with each candidate trying to link the other to his respective party leader.

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Obama drama shakes up Bayonne

Obama volunteer Karin R. White Morgen: Politicker photoObama volunteer Karin R. White Morgen: Politicker photo 

BAYONNE - Forget about president, there’s a war for mayor going on, and millions of contract dollars at stake as this hard knock dock town faces redevelopment of the Navy peninsula.

But the mayor’s race and its implications for next year’s politics have now produced a smaller - but no less intense - spin-off war between regular and renegade Democrats scrambling to prove their allegiance to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il.) with a little more than two weeks until Election Day.

Leading mayoral candidates, police director Mark Smith and retired judge Pat Conaghan, don’t want to publicly back Obama as they court 7,453 independent voters and 2,157 Republicans in what is billed as a nonpartisan election in an overwhelmingly Democratic (15,894 registered voters) yet historically white city.

The Republicans see opportunity here in this onetime Reagan Democrat stronghold, and have made targeted phone calls on behalf of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). But Obama’s 13-point lead over McCain in New Jersey and the Democrat’s frontrunner status nationally have at least one conspicuous Conaghan ally rushing to quell the perception that he’s operating outside the auspices of Obamaland.

On Saturday, Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone (D-Bayonne) enlisted the help of his ally, state Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson), and opened an Obama for President headquarters at the corner of Avenue C and Andrews Street.

From that vantage point, he launched an attack on what he sees as a stalled-in-the-past local party organization he said has soft-pedaled its Obama outreach.

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Myers continues to assail Adler on legislative slush fund

Republican Medford Mayor Chris Myers today charged that his rival for the 3rd District Congressional seat, State Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill), tried to direct $110,000 to a for-profit health care center owned by a campaign contributor in 2005, which the Treasury Department then discussed channeling through a non-profit entity.

The Myers campaign based its charge on several documents released yesterday as part of a large document dump relating to the Property Tax Assistance and Community Development Grants Program, known to insiders as the “MAC account" both because of then-state Treasurer John McCormac and the ease with which connected legislators would withdraw funds.

One document shows that Adler requested the money for the Silvercare Center, which is owned by Marc Silver.

Silver contributed $2,000 to Adler’s 2006 State Senate campaign, $2,300 to his congressional campaign, and $2,000 to his 2005 federal Adler for Senate committee.

Silver also contributed $1,000 to retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R-Mount Holly) -- Myers' political mentor -- in 2000.

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Booker jumps into Central Ward battle alongside Osborne

Laborers' business manager Eddie Osborne: Politicker file photoLaborers' business manager Eddie Osborne: Politicker file photo 

NEWARK - The old guard's gauntlet down, Mayor Cory Booker seeks to stem the local losses of the past few months by making a stand with the campaign of Central Ward Council candidate Eddie Osborne. 

Booker on Monday will officially endorse labor leader Osborne for Central Ward Council, according to Newark sources.

One of 13 candidates seeking to replace ousted Councilwoman Dana Rone, Osborne this week said he didn't know if he would receive Booker's backing.

"But I definitely would like to have it," he told

Sources say an 18-day Osborne/Booker lit-blitz starts in the ward tomorrow, as Booker's soldiers join union workers in an effort to propel Osborne past apparent frontrunner, former Councilman Charles Bell.

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In a tough political landscape, Schaer bets on Blanco - and Lucianin

Acting Mayor Gary Schaer: Politicker file photoActing Mayor Gary Schaer: Politicker file photo

PASSAIC - With his career at the state level apparently in ascendency, a handful of Trenton allies didn’t think Assemblyman Gary Schaer(D-Passaic), the new chairman of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, should get in the middle of this ground-level, five-man mayor’s contest.

Other factors are already at work, none of them good, including a jailed former mayor, two busted former councilmen who are still visible in city politics, a third councilman defiantly digging in on the governing body against federal corruption charges, and an impaneled grand jury, which each day threatens to intrude on the campaign process by toppling yet another public official.

Moreover, some of the candidates competing - seemingly nice guys - in any event seemed too close to the man everyone still refers to around here as "Sammy," as in Sammy Rivera, the former mayor who had a good run for about five years before corruption caught up with him in his second term and the feds bagged him on bribery charges.

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Weekend TV

It’s all about the Governor’s economic stimulus plan on NJN this weekend.

On Sunday at 9a.m. and 11a.m., watch On the Record with New Jersey Policy Perspective President Jon Shure, Center for Policy Research of NJ President Gregg Edwards, Democratic analyst Mike Murphy and Ramapo College Finance Professor/former U.S. Senate candidate Murray Sabrin discuss Corzine’s plan.  The show is hosted by Michael Aron and will air again on Monday at 6:30 a.m. 

Tonight at 7:00 and Sunday at 10:00a.m., catch Reporters Roundtable, hosted by Michael Aron and featuring Bergen Record columnist Charles Stile, Gannett’s Greg Volpe and yours truly,  Matt Friedman.  We'll discuss the Corzine economic plan, the Republican sales tax cut proposal and commercials from the U.S. Senate and Congressional races.

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Zimmer outraises Lautenberg this quarter, but has half the Democrat's on-hand cash

Former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer reported raising $605,423.74 this period toward his challenge of incumbent U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park).

That means more money raised in this quarter than the Democrat, but less on hand.

Zimmer had $411,029.47 at the beginning of the reporting period.  Now he has $453,368.02 on hand, or nearly half of the senator's ready cash.

Lautenberg’s quarterly Federal Election Commission (FEC) report showed him hauling in $536,176.12 during the same period ending Oct. 15.

The report indicates that Lautenberg had $1,290,970.79 at the beginning of the reporting period, allowed $905,572.81 in total disbursements, and now has $921,574.10 on hand.

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Congressional cash on hand summary

It’s not exactly a surprise, but the incumbent Congressmen in safe districts who have statewide aspirations tend to have the largest war chests.

Take, for instance, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch).  His Republican opponent, former Judge Robert McLeod, didn’t even raise the $5,000 that would require him to fill out a report with the Federal Election Commission.  But Pallone is raising and spending money anyway, raking in $302,139 last quarter for a total of $2.18 million this election cycle.  He has $3.36 million on hand – the largest war chest in Congress – and spent $304,000 this quarter.

That money is not being spent against McLeod.  The expenditures listed in the FEC report includes a $189,015 cable television ad buy.  The commercial, which began on Tuesday, is playing all over the state north of Interstate 195, in places well beyond Pallone’s district.

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The Back Room

Names on the LD7 GOP bench

In the event that state Sen. Diane Allen (R-7) doesn't run for re-election in 2017, the party has a short list of possible candidates it could field to try to head off either Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) or Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7).

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 30th

  With looming deadline on bail reform, Christie calls Legislature into special session TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie is calling the legislature into special session Thursday to address recent bail reform legislation before a looming deadline next week, according to a letter from the governor’s office today. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)...

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record


Who's right on the bail reform special session?:


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