May 13th Campaign Notes: Five Questions on the Trail

May 13th Campaign Notes: Five Questions on the Trail
At-Large Paterson Councilman Ken McDaniel

Fulop and the Schools Question

2017 gubernatorial hopeful Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop will be a winner if anti-Democratic Party establishment Ras Baraka is victorious next month, but he also faces hard questions about loyalty. A year ago, the schools reform movement threw its support to Fulop in his own mayoral contest, only to watch the Jersey City mayor a year later back the Newark mayoral candidate staunchly opposed to the agenda of Better Education For Our Kids. It can be argued, in fact, that more than any other single issue, education fueled Baraka’s candidacy as a counterpoint to Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson’s One Newark plan. The Jersey City mayor is all in. What does that say about his commitment to the goals of B4K?

The Democratic Party Establishment on the Line

We can already see the shrugs of party people dismissing the premise and the objection: there are non-partisan elections. But the Democratic Party establishment, fragmented as it is, decided to back at least two candidates in critical races in this May cycle: Shavar Jeffries in Newark and Council President Andre Sayegh in Paterson. The Passaic County party organization backs the latter, just as the Essex County Democrats led by powerful County Essex Joe DiVincenzo, back the former. Losses in both theaters of political combat will underscore weaknesses in the same political outfit that essentially chose love not war during last year’s gubernatorial contest. If Christie has excruciating internal weaknesses in an NJGOP that put up the unknown Brian Goldberg of Essex County to run against Cory Booker, Booker’s party will show signs of a less than awe-inspiring grassroots political operation. How that impacts the longer term designs of someone like establishment-grounded Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) will be a seminal political question. If Jeffries and/or Sayegh triumph, however, the party establishment will get a substantial boost on the ground.

Read More >

Interest arbitration sunset shines light on back room dispute

Interest arbitration sunset shines light on back room dispute
Credit: Tim Larsen, Governor's Office File Photo

TRENTON – The law the Assembly allowed to expire and that mayors say helped to slow property tax growth in the state has given Gov. Chris Christie and others something to talk about.

The governor, on his town hall circuit, has attacked the Assembly for “sticking their heads in the sand,” succumbing to special interest groups and refusing to do their job. Similarly, the New Jersey League of Municipalities has implored lawmakers to act before local leaders are forced “to make deep cuts in services.”

But the stalemate on the 2 percent cap on interest arbitration awards for unionized police and firefighters also revealed another back room discussion: There’s a new speaker in the house.

Read More >

Morning Digest: April 11, 2014

Newark's mayor race: Jeffries campaign worker arrested and charged for Baraka bus burning

Newark's mayor race: Jeffries campaign worker arrested and charged for Baraka bus burning

NEWARK - The Essex County Prosecutor's Office has confirmed that a campaign worker of Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries has been arrested in connection with the burning of rival candidate Ras Baraka's campaign bus in February.

"I can confirm that Shareef Nash has been arrested in connection with the February 16 arson of a bus belonging to the Baraka for mayor campaign," said Thomas Fennelly, chief assistant prosecutor. 

A written statement from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office stated that Nash bas been arrested and charged with first degree arson for hire and conspiracy to commit arson. He is being held on $200,000 bail. 

Read More >

GOP lawmaker weighing in on CD 3 Republican primary

GOP lawmaker weighing in on CD 3 Republican primary

A South Jersey GOP assemblywoman weighed in on a local Republican primary Thursday after charging one of the congressional hopefuls for using “offensive rhetoric” during the campaign.

Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8) took a shot at CD 3 “perennial candidate” Steve Lonegan for his attacks against the Republican establishment’s favorite to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-3). The Statehouse lawmaker railed against Lonegan for a television ad she referred to as “personally disturbing.”

Lonegan is vying for the Republican nomination against Tom MacArthur, who was criticized in a recent Lonegan television ad for supporting “liberal policies.”

Read More >

The Rodriguez Factor: Can a man under indictment turn the course of the Paterson Mayor's race?

The Rodriguez Factor: Can a man under indictment turn the course of the Paterson Mayor's race?
Rodriguez at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

PATERSON – In public, At-Large Councilman Rigo Rodriguez shows no sign of being rattled by the fact that he’s under indictment, and, with a kind of Bill Musto gusto, runs his mayoral campaign as if he expects to win, as if he knows that in the end, the people will serve as his jury.

As the council approached the midnight hour Tuesday night, he turned the heads of colleagues who noticed him animatedly communicating with campaign personnel. Someone only half jokingly asked him if he intended to go pound on doors after the meeting.

Rodriguez proved the most consistently keyed in voluble presence on the dais Tuesday, seizing on citizens’ complaints and repeatedly criticizing the Jones administration for failing to act on certain council recommendations.

“That’s not cutting it,” rebuked the councilman, angling a stern look at a mayor’s representative on the issue of street maintenance.

Read More >

Morning Digest: April 10, 2014

Newark mayor's race: Political media group tied to Norcross paid for Jeffries independent expenditure TV buy

Newark mayor's race: Political media group tied to Norcross paid for Jeffries independent expenditure TV buy

NEWARK -  A Philadelphia-based Democratic political media and consulting group, whose clients include close associates of South Jersey power broker George Norcross III, has paid for current cable television campaign advertisements sponsored by an independent expenditure group that supports Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries, according to documents. 

Read More >

The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

Sign up for the Wake Up Call

Get the latest New Jersey politics headlines delivered right to your inbox, every morning. Sign up for the PolitickerNJ Wake Up Call.


The future of NJ Politics should not be politicians investigating politicians

By JON BRAMNICK Voices around the country agree with our concern that "bipartisan committee led by John Wisniewski is partisan." Below are observers who agree Wisneiwski's committee is not bipartisan: Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Democrats made a mistake... Read More >


(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop



Which is the most competitive of these May 13th elections?:


Visit the page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.


  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.