Kean says Palin may have hurt McCain's chances in New Jersey

Former Gov. Tom Kean with John McCain and Joe Lieberman in Hamilton last March: Getty Images PhotoFormer Gov. Tom Kean with John McCain and Joe Lieberman in Hamilton last March: Getty Images Photo
With two polls released this morning showing Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain in the Garden State by between 17 and 23 points, former Gov. Tom Kean acknowledged that winning this state is a long-shot, and that Vice-Presidential Sarah Palin hasn't helped.

"I think one of the problems is there hasn't been much of a campaign in New Jersey, if any. That's always a problem. It's uphill for any Republican to win in New Jersey, and the ones who have won are those who have spent a great deal of time here," he told PolitickerNJ.com from California in a phone interview.

Kean, who governed as a moderate in the 1980s and developed cross-party appeal, was one of McCain's early New Jersey backers. He endorsed him late last year, when most of the GOP establishment - including his son, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. -- was on board with Rudy Giuliani. McCain, Kean said, was the most helpful Senator when he chaired the 9/11 commission - the creation of which McCain often cites as a major policy difference between himself and President Bush.

Kean did accompany McCain on the three public appearances he made in New Jersey this year. While he'd like to see more of McCain here, he understands that, with no chance of winning in New York, it wouldn't make sense to spend his limited campaign cash in that extremely expensive media market to make a play for North Jersey voters.

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Quinnipiac: Voters mixed on Corzine stimulus package

An economic stimulus package offered by Gov. Jon Corzine received mixed reviews from New Jersey voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released today, with voters split 44% in support and 42% in opposition to a plan that would invest $250 million from state pension funds in community banks to encourage small business loans. But voters support (55%-31%) Corzine's proposal to use $45 million from the State Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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Union County Clerk says voting machines are unreliable; encourages voting by mail

Citing concerns over the vulnerability of New Jersey’s electronic voting machines raised in a Princeton University professor’s report, the top Union County election official is encouraging residents to vote by mail.

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi today reminded voters that the Clerks Office will be open Saturday to hand out last minute absentee ballots before the November 4th, saying that she didn’t feel confident that all votes would be counted accurately by the current stock of machines. She plans to redeploy her agency’s staff to deal with the expected increased volume of paper ballots.

Rajoppi had asked the state to investigate tallying errors she found in the voting machines, manufactured by Sequoia, during the February presidential primary. No investigation took place, however.

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Obama, Lautenberg have huge leads in new Quinnipiac poll

Obama, Lautenberg have huge leads in new Quinnipiac poll

Frank Lautenberg has a 22-point lead in his bid for re-election to a fifth term in the U.S. Senate: Getty Images Photo
New Jersey Democrats are looking at a top of the ticket landslide: a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Democrat Barack Obama with a 59%-36% lead over Republican John McCain, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg with a 22-point lead -- 55%-33% -- over Republican Dick Zimmer, a former Congressman.

A Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll also released this morning shows similar numbers: Obama 55%, McCain 38%.

“The nation’s economic crisis has turned New Jersey dark blue, virtually assuring a Democratic sweep with Sen. Barack Obama carrying the state and Sen. Frank Lautenberg winning re-election,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “Barring a major development in world affairs, or in the fortunes of Sen. John McCain and former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, Nov. 4 is shaping up as a big night for New Jersey Democrats.”

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Monmouth/Gannett poll: Obama leads by 17 points in N.J.

Barack Obama is likely to win New Jersey's 15 electoral votes, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll: Getty Images PhotoBarack Obama is likely to win New Jersey's 15 electoral votes, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll: Getty Images Photo
Barack Obama has a 17-point lead over John McCain in New Jersey, 55%-38% among likely voters, according to a new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll released this morning.  Obama had an 8-point lead in the same poll last month.

“We have reached the tipping point in this race, with nearly half of the state’s voters saying they are very sure they will vote for Obama,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, who few Obama voters daid hey were willing to change their minds before Election Day. “At this point, it would take an October surprise of astronomical proportions to turn New Jersey from blue to red.”

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Somerset freeholder candidates debate taxes, ethics

MONTGOMERY -- In Somerset County, the question is who “talks the talk,” and who “walks the walk.”

At a debate tonight at Montgomery High School's library, incumbent Republican Freeholders Peter Palmer and Robert Zaborowski accused their Democratic challenges, Montgomery Mayor Cecilia Xie Birge and North Plainfield Councilman Douglas Singleterry, of only “talking the talk” on taxes but failing to curb them in their hometowns. The Democrats countered by saying the Republicans had only “talked the talk” on ethics reform in the wake of last year’s Somerset County Parks Commission scandal.

The forum, which was moderated by former Republican Montgomery Mayor Peter Treichler, was the third and final debate in a potentially competitive contest – something Somerset County only began seeing recently.

“Our opponents have talked the talk about controlling taxes. Over the last three years, we have walked the walk, and they have not,” said Palmer, the director of the freeholder board.

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Showdown on the river

PASSAIC - In a mayoral candidates’ forum sponsored by the Passaic Democratic Party, four of the candidates shared their American Dream immigrant stories and a fifth said he grew up speaking his native English but also speaks Spanish - not fluently - but almost.

Jose Sandoval said he came to Passaic with $13 in his pocket. He made good as a real estate developer and businessman.

"The same thing my children have, I want your children to have," said the candidate, who wants golf and fencing teams for the city’s children. "I’m not looking for money. The only thing I want is to have Passaic first for a change."

Vincent Capuana, a Sicilian immigrant family man and 26-year veteran of the Passaic Board of Education, said his life’s ambition was to put his two sons through college.

"I did that," he announced to applause.

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"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

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