Anthony Imperiale

Murray could be Morris County's third candidate in GOP gubernatorial field

Murray could be Morris County's third candidate in GOP gubernatorial field
Morris County Freeholder James Murray is thinking about running for Governor.

If 70-year-old Freeholder James Murray enters the race for Governor, it would bring the number of Morris County Republicans to three.  Murray, who raised just $5,000 on his upset primary win over incumbent John Inglesino in 2007, is hardly a first-tier statewide candidate.  But he could siphon off Morris County votes from former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie - as could another Morris candidate, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham).

Inglesino is part of Christie's political inner circle and has been attending Christie for Governor campaign meetings for more than a year.  He has played a leading role in the reform of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where his law firm (he is former federal Judge and U.S. Attorney Herbert Stern's law partner) had been awarded a lucrative federal monitor job by Christie.  

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Legislators were 'entirely too comfortable with organized crime'

Legislators were 'entirely too comfortable with organized crime'
Top Row, left to right: Assemblyman Richard Fiore, reputed mob boss Jerry Catena, Assemblyman John Selecky and State Sen. Sido Ridolfi; Bottom Row, left to right: Assemblyman David Friedland, U.S. Attorney Frederick Lacey, State Sen. Hap Farley, and whistleblower Claire Curran Johnson

One of the classic stories of the New Jersey Legislature in 1968 were allegations that a Newark Assemblyman wanted to cancel a hearing on organized crime under pressure from a "lobbyist" representing Geraldo (Jerry) Catena, one of the state's most powerful mob bosses.

Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Chairman Joseph Woodcock held a news conference in December 1968 to say that his aide was told by Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Chairman Richard Fiore that he was being pressured by Catena to stop legislative proposals to create the State Commission of Investigation, and to legalize wiretapping, and to permit certain witnesses to receive immunity from prosecution.

Claire Curran Johnson, a former New York Mirror crime reporter who worked for Woodcock, told investigators for the state Attorney General's office that Fiore, a 36-year-old substitute teacher and Recreation Director for the Newark Board of Education, claimed he wanted to head the Assembly panel "to stop these kind of things." "There is a lot of pressure. You just don't know how much pressure. Jerry is unhappy about it," Curran quoted Fiore as telling her.

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Forty years after his first win, Caputo set to return to Legislature

Assemblyman- elect Ralph Caputo last served in the Legislature from 1968 to 1972.Assemblyman- elect Ralph Caputo last served in the Legislature from 1968 to 1972.Newark and the political arena were a lot different when 27-year-old Ralph Caputo was first elected to the State Assembly in 1967.

The city had just seen its infamous race riots the summer before the election, and Caputo, a Republican from the then Italian-American North Ward, was elected to serve in district 11-C -- made up predominantly of working class whites.

Now, at age 66, Caputo will again be an Assemblyman – this time as a Democrat – returning to Trenton after a 36 year hiatus.

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The post-riot Community Council election

Anthony ImperialeAnthony Imperiale

On August 14, 1968, one year after racial tensions ignited the Newark riot, a Special Election was held in thirteen Newark voting districts that each elected four people to a special Community Council to administer the Federal Model Cities Program. This was the second community council election; the first, held the previous April, was invalidated after charges of fraud. The program affected Newark's Central Ward, which had the largest Black population in city, as well as parts of the North and West Wards.

That election featured two well-known candidates who had emerged as civic leaders during Newark's post-riot era: Anthony Imperiale, who ran a group of vigilantes, and LeRoi Jones (now known as Amiri Baraka), a poet and civil rights leader.

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Twenty new Senators

New Jersey is assured of at least twelve new State Senators when the Legislature meets in January 2007.  But with just a handful of competitive general election contests, it seems almost impossible for the next freshman class to be larger than the Senate produced after the 1977 general election -- when twenty of the forty Senators were different than those elected in 1973.

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The Harvey Smith Club

When L. Harvey Smith returns to Trenton in January, he will join a rather obscure and exclusive club: former State Senators who become Assemblymen. Smith served in the Senate for three months in 2003 and 2004, between Joseph Charles' resignation to become a Superior Court Judge and Glenn Cunningham taking office in January 2004.

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New Jersey State Senators who ran as Independents

In 1977, two New Jersey State Senators sought re-election as Independents after losing the support of their party. Joseph McGahn, a physician whose place in New Jersey political history was secured when he ousted the legendary Senator (and Atlantic County GOP boss) Frank "Hap" Farley in 1971, was dumped from the Atlantic County Democratic line. McGahn lost to the Democratic nominee, Assemblyman Steven Perskie, who went on to serve as Senate Majority Leader, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chairman of the Casino Control Commission, and two tours of duty as a Superior Court Judge.

Thomas Dunn, the Mayor of Elizabeth, lost the backing of Union County Democrats for a second term in the Senate. He lost to Assemblyman John Gregorio, the Mayor of Linden. Gregorio left the Senate after his criminal conviction in 1982, and returned to public life as the Mayor of Linden after then-Governor Thomas Kean pardoned him on his final day in office in January 1990.

A third incument Senator running as an Independent was Anthony Imperiale, who like McGahn, Perskie, Dunn and Gregorio, has a place in state political history. Imperiale won national attention as a North Ward community leader and vigilante during the 1966 Newark riots. He won a City Council seat in 1970, and running as an Independet, was elected to the State Assembly in 1971 and to the Senate in 1973. Imperiale forced Newark Mayor Kenneth Gibson into a runoff in 1974, but lost his Senate seat in 1977 to Frank Rodgers, who served as Mayor of Harrison for fifty years. Imperiale made a comeback in 1979, winning an Assembly seat as a Republican (he defeated three-term incumbent John Cali), but gave up his seat two years later to make an unsuccessful run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

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

"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

- The Daily Beast

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