Patrick Kennedy due in Passaic tonight

Patrick Kennedy due in Passaic tonight
Kenneth Lucianin and childhood friend Lisa Wozny

PASSAIC – Look hard among the lawn signs for the 8th Congressional District race, and you might see a few in there that say “Kennedy for Congress.”

That’s because Democratic Party insider Kenneth Lucianin, a candidate for the City Council, is bringing in  U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) tonight for a bash at his house against the backdrop of the Nov. 4th special elections.

Kennedy is the son of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Aligned with Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) and mayoral candidate Dr. Alex Blanco, Lucianin is a former school board member, former Port Authority employee, and the son of Kenneth Lucianin, Sr., a retired police director and Passaic patriarch.

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Counting on grassroots support, Rone runs against the power

Counting on grassroots support, Rone runs against the power
Mary Rone, Central Ward council candidate

NEWARK – As the juggernaut campaigns of Charles Bell and Eddie Osborne hit each other at full speed in the Central Ward, Mary Rone mounts a grassroots operation from below that she hopes will knock both of the bigger operations to their knees on Nov. 4th.

“I’m going to win it for the people,” says the community activist, who with her late husband, James Rone, advocated for fair housing in the city going back to the late 1960s. “I’ve had enough of the ring-kissing style of politics, and I know the people of the Central Ward have too.”

She comes at the campaign with an extra burst of motivation.

Thirteen candidates are vying in a special election to fill the seat of Rone’s daughter, former Councilwoman Dana Rone, whom an assignment judge removed in August after determining that the councilwoman used her office to impede the work of Rutgers University cops in a Dec. 2006 traffic incident involving her nephew.

“You could say Dana losing her seat was my fault,” says the older Rone. “I instilled in her what my family instilled in me. If a family member is in distress, you help them. That’s all it was. It’s not about her improperly using her authority. My daughter is very protective, both of her community – and of her own family.”

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Poll: Lautenberg leads Zimmer by 52%-36%

Poll: Lautenberg leads Zimmer by 52%-36%
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, with presidential candidate Barack Obama, has a huge lead in his bid for a 5th term

A new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll shows incumbent Frank Lautenberg with a 16 point lead over Dick Zimmer in the race for U.S. Senate -- 52%-36% among likely voters.  A Quinnipiac University poll released this week has Lautenberg ahead by 22 points.  Zimmer, a former Republican Congressman, remains unknown to 56% of voters.

“With just two weeks to go, the incumbent’s stealth campaign appears to be succeeding. Of course, it certainly helps that his challenger has yet to introduce himself to most of the state’s voters,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “Given the lack of visible campaign activity, Lautenberg seems to be coasting along on Obama’s coattails.”

Lautenberg has a 48%-28% job approval rating, up from 45%-33% in July.  He has a 45%-24% favorable rating.  Zimmer has a 28%-16% favorable rating.  

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Freeholders' debate underway in Battlezone Monmouth

John Curley and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry: Politicker photoJohn Curley and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry: Politicker photo 

MANALAPAN - The debate is underway here between the Democrats and Republicans in this down-ballot battleground for two seats on the Monmouth County Freeholder Board, and Democrats have opened by going after the incumbent.

Republican Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and her running mate, former Red Bank Councilman John Curley, sit at a table in the Monmouth County Library's main branch, alongside their Democratic rivals, reitred Hazlet Police Detective Glenn Mason and Fair Haven businesswoman Amy Mallet.

Taking a question about transparency in government, Mallet immediately goes after incumbent Burry.

"We recently learned there was a house tour in Colts Neck, put on by the Historic Preservation Committee," says Mallet. "She used her business as a primary outlet for purchasing the tickets (to the tour)."

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More drama in the overheating 5th District congressional race

There’s plenty of outrage to go around in the 5th Congressional District.

Today, the Dennis Shulman campaign decried a mailer from incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) that put a small picture of Shulman, a rabbi, in front of a much larger picture of a Hamas member carrying an AK-47.

“Should we be talking with terrorists,” it reads in large, blood red letters.  “Dennis Shulman thinks so.”

Garrett also put out a commercial asking “What do we really know about Dennis Shulman, the man spearing Scott Garrett?,” and referring to him as an “extremist who believes America must negotiate with terrorists.” 

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Sarlo status update

State Sen. Paul Sarlo remains in the hospital, although he’s miffed that his chief of staff, Chris Eilert, took away his cell phone.

Eilert said that Sarlo, 40, is still undergoing tests.  Doctors still don’t know what happened, he says, although Sarlo is “back to normal.” 

“In terms of his functioning and personality-wise, he’s back to normal.  He’s Paul -- he wants to run the world form his hospital bed,” said Eilert.  “He just called me half an hour ago.  He’s upset at me because I won’t give him his cell phone”

Sarlo was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center at approximately 2:00a.m. Monday morning after reporting difficulty breathing.   

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Torricelli backs Shulman; slams Garrett ethics, calls him an extremist and tax cheat

Torricelli backs Shulman; slams Garrett ethics, calls him an extremist and tax cheat

In a fundraising letter, former U.S. Sen. Bob Torricelli praises Dennis Shulman's integrity.: Getty Images PhotoIn a fundraising letter, former U.S. Sen. Bob Torricelli praises Dennis Shulman's integrity.: Getty Images Photo
Former U.S. Sen. Bob Torricelli has endorsed blind Rabbi Dennis Shulman in his race against three-term U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage).  

"Dennis' integrity and unique background of identifying and solving problems leave him well-equpped to oppose Garrett -- and to serve in Congress honorably and effectively," Torricelli wrote in a letter seeking to raise money for Shulman's campaign.  "Garrett sat idly by in his seat on the House Financial Services Committee, while the housing bubble burst, all the while pocketing thousands of dollars in contributions from Countrywide Financial and leaving his day-to-day operations to his Chief of Staff, a former Countrywide lobbyist.  

Torricelli also slammed Garrett for claiming an erroneous exemption on his state tax return, "cheating his fellow citizens out of up to $40,000 a year."  He called Garrett an "extremist whose values are not those of his constituents, nor of the nation."

“Bob Torricelli has always been most comfortable wading around the sleaze and slime of the corrupt Bergen County Democrat machine.  Guess you take Torch out of the slime, but you can’t take sleaze out of the Torch.  Torricelli was forced to leave the United States Senate because his ethics and values told him to use his office to get himself a Rolex, a closet full of $5000 suits, a grandfather clock, an expensive oriental rug, a jumbo plasma screen TV, and thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions," said Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson.  "Now his ‘ethics and values’ tell him to slander, malign, and lie about Scott Garrett.  Asking Bob Torricelli to be your ethics watchdog is about as smart as asking Michael Vick to watch your dog. “

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Bergen Democrats' ad features Palin moose hunting in Hackensack

Only in New Jersey: Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin goes moose hunting in Hackensack, only to learn a Bergen County Republican freeholder candidate was once a socialist.

The humorous radio ad, produced by the Bergen County Democratic freeholder and county clerk slate, has drawn outrage from the Bergen County Republicans, who called part of it an attack on Freeholder candidate Paul Duggan’s Irish heritage.

The ad, which is interspersed with moose calls, begins with an unidentified male voice asking a Palin impersonator what she’s doing in Hackensack.

“Me and my maverick friends hear that there’s some darn good moose hunting here,” she says, before adding that she’s heard that “the Republican candidates are some pretty serious reformers.”

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 2nd

Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080  ...

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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

"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

Poll

Governor Chris Christie's trip to Mexico...:

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