Sweeney weighs in on Christie's liberal appointments: 'He had no choice'

Sweeney weighs in on Christie's liberal appointments: 'He had no choice'

 The big debate among insiders and observers in the Statehouse last week revolved around the legislature's  approval of two of Gov. Chris Christie's nominations, both well known Democrats, to key state positions --   Jamie Fox, a longtime political operative and former transportation commissioner, to the Department of Transportation, and Upendra Chivukula, a respected assemblyman with a track record of progressive environmentalism, to the Board of Public Utilities.

All agreed that both candidates were obviously qualified, but that didn't keep observers from musing about what, exactly, the Republican governor -- and particularly one with looming national political aspirations ahead of the 2016 Republican primaries -- gained by appointing liberals to the powerful posts. The best guesses varied.

Was it a move to boost his managerial skills in an effort to look more presidential in the eyes of voters and donors? A deal cut with his political compatriot across the aisle, Senate President Steve Sweeney, to get a savvy pol into the DOT position to sell a gas tax and fix a broken Transportation Trust Fund (seemingly Sweeney's top priority at the moment)? Or was it something else, a down payment to South Jersey's political boss, George Norcross III, who wants Sweeney in the governor's seat after Christie leaves and might have something to offer the Republican in his quest for the Oval Office?

None of those speculations placed the move squarely, however, so PolitickerNJ asked Sweeney himself today what he made of it all.

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Bramnick, Doherty, Kean, 'one statewide shot,' and the CD7 dynamic

Bramnick, Doherty, Kean, 'one statewide shot,' and the CD7 dynamic

Talk to establishment Republicans and most of them – when prodded on gubernatorial 2017 politics – acknowledge the frontrunner status right now of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.

But there are three names that continue to circulate along with the idea that the field could shape into a 2006 repeat, with multiple Republican hopefuls running into the vacuum created by Gov. Chris Christie’s departure.

Of the three recurring names, two stand on obvious opposite sides of the party and, in the words of one party insider, “will each take one statewide shot,” the question is when – and which office.

Neither appears determined to limit himself to either governor or senator.

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Bergen County Exec's race: GOP Freeholder Felice, endorsing no candidate, says Bergen County Exec race will be "close"

Bergen County Exec's race: GOP Freeholder Felice, endorsing no candidate, says Bergen County Exec race will be "close"

HACKENSACK - The reelection campaign of County Executive Kathleen Donovan, the Republican incumbent, released a list of 17 campaign co-chairs on Tuesday. Two boldface Bergen Republican names were noticeably absent: Sheriff Michael Saudino and Freeholder John Felice.

The county executive's campaign stated that both Saudino and Felice were asked to be co-chairs. Saudino told PolitickerNJ on Wednesday the crux of his concerns with Donovan. On Thursday, it was Felice's turn to state why he declined her campaign's invitation.

"I've decided at this point not to endorse anyone," Felice told PolitickerNJ. "That's my position, and I'm sticking by it. I was asked to be a co-chair, and the response is the same one that I'm giving now."

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Chris Christie, Bridgegate bruises, and the Jamie Fox era manager-for-presidential argument

Chris Christie, Bridgegate bruises, and the Jamie Fox era manager-for-presidential argument

The crowd of Republican big shots turned their heads skyward with the sound of a helicopter, descending like a Close Encounters of a Third Kind vision in a refinery-clear New Jersey sky absent the Orson Welles voice-over. 

Donald Trump alighted on the green with his wife and made his way in to the Gov. Chris Christie fundraiser – the headliner, who, as it turned out, had already made his statement for the evening.

Trump wouldn’t amplify himself to the crowd.

Christie reserved the right to alone dominate the microphone, a careful piece of stagecraft meant to highlight the fact that as long as the governor occupies a room, so too does he hold the alpha male privilege to hold forth unencumbered by the voices of other power players.

This was the observation made by a Republican source, who found it just as baffling when, a month and change later, Romney occupied the same stage as Christie and intoned to a hushed crowd as Christie stood patiently in the wings.

“One of two things is happening,” explained the source, scrunched into a coffee house with the bill of a baseball cap shading his eyes.

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NJ Bureau of Securities sues former Monmouth County fire chief

The New Jersey Bureau of Securities, represented by the Division of Law, has filed suit against Vincent Falci, 55, of Middletown, and various investment companies he operated, after he allegedly defrauded 182 investors through the sale of approximately $5.4 million in unregistered securities. 

In addition to filing suit in State Superior Court in Freehold, the Bureau of Securities summarily revoked the exemptions Falci could rely on to operate in the state’s securities industry without registration.

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Morning Digest: September 25th

Morning Digest: September 25th

Bergen County Exec's race: continuing Donovan v. Saudino rift still factor for Republicans before November election

Bergen County Exec's race: continuing Donovan v. Saudino rift still factor for Republicans before November election

HACKENSACK - In preparation for the Bergen County Executive race in 2014, the two long-standing pillars and rivals of the Bergen Republican Party, County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Bergen Republican Chairman Bob Yudin, publicly made peace in December 2013. Joining hands, Donovan and Yudin presented a united front, one they maintained following the emergence of Democratic Freeholder Jim Tedesco as Donovan's challenger in the 2014 election.

As the campaign enters its critical final six weeks, political observers wonder if the other significant rift among Bergen Republicans can be repaired before Election Day: the feud between Donovan and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. 

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Degnan: 'We'll do whatever the legislatures tell us to'

Degnan: 'We'll do whatever the legislatures tell us to'

NEW YORK, NY - Even here, standing on the sidewalk outside the entrance to 7 World Trade Center in this bustling metropolis, newly-minted Chairman John Degnan's enthusiasm for reform at an embattled Port Authority comes across strong.

Grabbed by PolitickeNJ following a press conference where the governors of New York and New Jersey announced new plans to ramp-up security measures in the wake of growing terrorist threats abroad, Degnan said the bi-state agency, berated lately by the legislatures on both sides of the Hudson for mismanagement and corruption, is taking "calls for transparency seriously."

He rattled off a list of reforms the Port Authority -- which has been mired in scandal following allegations that last year's lane closings at the George Washington Bridge were politically motivated -- is already undergoing.

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The Back Room

Report: Christie in Wisconsin with Walker

In his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Gov. Chris Christie campaigned in Wisconsin today with fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 29th

Winners and Losers: Week of September 22nd WINNERS Tom MacArthur In arguably the most competitive contest of the season, the CD3 Republican candidate forced Comcast to take down an inaccurate Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) television advertisement – the second of three forced off the air. "Our attorney was...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... 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

"After not responding to messages all week seeking an interview about the campaign, Garrett’s spokeswoman said on Friday afternoon that she would try to set one up, but did not respond further. Garrett has not released any announcements of where he would be campaigning, though he has posted pictures on social media on Sept. 8 from the Greenwood Lake Air Show in West Milford and on Sept. 14 from the Hackettstown Street Fair. Garrett has not agreed to any debates so far." - columnist Herb Jackson

- The Bergen Record


Who won that CD3 NJTV debate?:


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