With Clean Elections program stumbling, its opponents try to knock it down

TRENTON -- With the future of the Fair and Clean Elections program hanging in the balance and its supporters set to try to negotiate its fate in two weeks, four of its opponents gathered in the State House today to question not only the program's effectiveness, but the sincerity of some of its proponents.

Assembly members Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Allison Littell McHose (R-Franklin) joined Virginia-based Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) President Sean Parnell and Center for Policy Research (CPR) of New Jersey Executive Director Greg Edwards to outline preliminary findings of the CCP's report that they say shows the program has been ineffective in virtually all of its stated goals.

Most notable, according to Parnell, was the fact that special interest groups still appeared to exert large influence in collecting the hundreds of $10 donations needed to participate in the program.

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Menendez in Afghanistan

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is in Afghanistan today as part of a week-long fact finding mission that will take him to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Germany.  His Afghanistan itinerary included meetings in Kabul with U.S. troops and with President Hamid Karzai.  Menendez, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will return to Washington on Monday.

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Rone exit stirs mild public response at city council meeting

NEWARK - The seat on the far side of the dais was empty.

That’s where Central Ward Councilwoman Dana Rone sat for Newark City Council meetings in the chamber on the second floor of Newark City Hall.

Banned yesterday by an assignment judge from serving on the council now and in the future because of her obstruction of justice conviction, Rone was nowhere to be found on the premises.

But the public comment segment of today’s meeting brought forth some commentary on the situation that West Ward Councilman Ronald Rice has already said may be a case of "selective prosecution."

Public reaction to Rone’s case included both chastising words for the Council and for the mayor.

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Mueller working with Booker on Obama strategy

Mueller working with Booker on Obama strategy

Obama State Director Tricia Mueller: Politicker file photoObama State Director Tricia Mueller: Politicker file photoNEWARK - Tricia Mueller, state director of the Obama campaign, is meeting here today with Mayor Cory Booker to begin coordinating campaign efforts for the Nov. 4th presidential contest.

"The mayor’s one of the early principals in the race," Mueller said of Booker’s out of the gate 2007 endorsement of the Illinois senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

"Newark is going to be very important to us," Mueller said of New Jersey’s largest city where there are 57,337 registered Democrats.

"Mayor Booker and I will be looking at how we’re going to move forward to make sure that Newark comes out big for Obama," she added.

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In Irvington, Mayor Smith quashes resignation rumor

In Irvington, Mayor Smith quashes resignation rumor

IRVINGTON - It's been a tough year for Mayor Wayne Smith, whose name was spun into a federal scandal that knocked down 11 other public officials in late 2007.

As part of a U.S. Attorney's Office bribery investigation called Operation Broken Boards, FBI agents posing as dummy insurance salespeople last year identified two public officials in Irvington, one of whom directed them to give $5,000 to Keith Reid, former chief of staff to Newark Council President Mildred Crump.

The U.S. Attroney's Office indicted Reid on corruption charges, but as yet he remains the only public official as part of Operation Broken Boards who has not gone to trial.

To date, Smith has not spoken publicly about the incident or addressed rampant speculation that he is one of those Irvington officials who directed the FBI to give money to Red, but today in the face of a rumor in his city that he intends to imminently step down, the mayor said no way.

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Beaten in 2006 re-election bid, Bell may be poised for a comeback

NEWARK - On the day Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone lost her council seat in the courtroom of assignment Judge Patricia Costello, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the City Council and Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) all supported her in her effort to appeal the judge’s decision.

But they also prepared for the very real possibility that Rone may lose her second-to-last chance gamble in the appellate division, and then fall with her last shot in the state Supreme Court.

Former Central Ward Councilman Charles Bell appears to be the candidate most likely to generate support from among the city's anti-Booker factions. Charone Montayne, daughter of Freeholder Blonnie Watson, may also make a run, but as a registered Republican she must be considered a longshot.

On the mayor’s side, the long-groomed Nakia White emerged as a late in the day option to replace an unsalvageable Rone.

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The Back Room

POLITICO: GOP on track to expand House majority by 5 or 6 seats

Tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand are threatening to deprive House Republicans of the sweeping 2014 gains that some top party officials have been predicting this year, according to Politicker alum Alex Isenstadt, now of Politico.

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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

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

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