In town from Paterson, Rodriguez backs Blanco

In town from Paterson, Rodriguez backs Blanco

PASSAIC – Among Dr. Alex Blanco’s street presence in the city on Election Day walks Paterson City At Large Councilman Rigo Rodriguez, who’s excited about his fellow Dominican American and his chances here today in the special mayoral contest.

“He’s a good candidate, and I believe he would be the right person to fight corruption in City Hall, which has been very bad here in Passaic,” said Rodriguez.

The councilman had success in his hometown in the last municipal election, as he sent an ally head-to-head with Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’s candidate, Councilman Juan Torres.

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Rone Campaign backed by Sharif, who laughes off suggestion she's a Booker mole

Rone Campaign backed by Sharif, who laughes off suggestion she's a Booker mole
Carl Sharif

NEWARK – The man Mayor Cory Booker calls his political sensei came out of the South Ward today and made a statement.

Power broker Carl Sharif laughed off the suggestion that because he’s funding Mary Rone’s Central Ward Council campaign, it means Rone is toiling as a mole for Sharif’s old ally and political acolyte, Booker.

The argument on the street is that Rone’s campaigning in those areas or at least among those populations where Booker antagonist Charles Bell is strong, in order to divide the vote and enable Osborne to win.

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Reports of huge turnout across New Jersey

Reports of huge turnout across New Jersey
Credit: Governor's Office Photo
Gov. Jon Corzine waits in line to vote this morning in Hoboken

Democratic and Republican operatives are reporting huge turnouts in urban, suburban and rural areas of the state today, with lines this morning in many polling locations.  New Jersey has nearly 5.4 million registered voters -- up from slightly more than 5 million in 2004.  Some election officials say the turnout, which was 73% four years ago, could exceed 80% today. 

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Lautenberg: 'Age is irrelevant'

Lautenberg: 'Age is irrelevant'
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg with his grandchildren at Epiphany Elementary School in Cliffside Park

CLIFFSIDE PARK -- U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) was in a jubilant mood after voting for himself this morning – so much so that, flanked by his grandchildren, he kicked off his brief press availability with some poetry.

“The sun is shining, the spirits are bright, there’s hope for America after this night,” he said while standing just outside the elementary school that serves as his polling place.

Lautenberg, 84, started off his press availability by praising Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, calling what he expects to be his imminent election a transformational moment.

“It’s really an exciting day, an exciting moment. America is on a journey. Today I think we’ll see the transformation of our country. The substance of Barack Obama as a favorite son of all of America, transcending any concerns of color, religion, culture – that’s gone. And Barack Obama is going to deliver that freedom to the American people,” he said. “As for me, I’ve been here before. Some of you have been too.”

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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 Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 28th

Chris Christie's Jekyll & Hyde complex We all know the story: An amiable, even-keeled doctor, in an effort to separate the good from his darker impulses, concocts and consumes a secret potion that, momentarily, induces a metamorphosis of physical and mental being and turns him into a monstrous and...

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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

"He was a focal point for the disturbance." - former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne (the Essex County Prosecutor in July 1967), of former Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio

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