A day after John McCain Republicans pulled the curtain off their campaign headquarters in working class Woodbridge, the national AFL-CIO endorsed Barack Obama for president and the state organization’s chief reaffirmed support for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
"At our convention we unanimously adopted a recommendation to endorse Obama," said newly re-elected AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. "Our program is up and running. We’re doing voter registration projects and getting information out to job sites.".
McCain’s New Jersey supporters are targeting what they describe as "Reagan Democrats," or working and middle class voters, including primary election supporters of Hillary Clinton.Read More >
There is considerable speculation that New Jersey Building Trades Council President Bill Mullen is weighing a bid for New Jersey AFL-CIO President against longtime incumbent Charles Wowkanech. Wowkanech has been feuding with a substantial wing of the state Democratic Party since last year after he backed some Republican legislative candidates in some hotly contested races. Mullen is viewed as a potentially strong challenger to Wowkanech, if he decides to make the race.Read More >
The New Jersey AFL-CIO, which said today that they are neutral in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, is not expected to make any endorsement before the June 3 primary because neither Frank Lautenberg nor Rob Andrews can get the two-thirds majority needed to win the formal backing of the union. This reflects poorly on the state AFL-CIO President, Charles Wowkanech, who prematurely announced support of Lautenberg yesterday.Read More >
As south and north Jersey locals today sparred with statements of support for either U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg or potential challenger U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech said he backs Lautenberg.
"I polled my executive board of 40 members and the level of support was overwhelmingly for Lautenberg," said the head of New Jersey's one million-strong labor organization.Read More >
When you pick the wrong horse in a harsh political battle, paybacks in politics are often extraordinarily difficult. That’s what New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech is finding out, now that he is “persona non grata” with Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and the extended Roberts political organization.
The Star-Ledger’s The Auditor had an important report on the Roberts/Wowknech feud last Sunday, and since that print version of that column sometimes differs from the online version, here are some excerpts worth noting, especially considering the players involved:Read More >
When the state Senate passed paid family leave today by a vote of 22-16, AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech admitted he felt a particular sense of satisfaction after a hard, 12-year trudge.
"We're exhausted, but we're very happy," said Wowkanech, whose outfit numbers 1 million strong in New Jersey, and who remembers first trying to float the idea of paid family leave over a decade ago.
What the Senate passed today was a bill that enables employees to pay into a fund that would allow them to receive compensation while taking up to six weeks off from work to care for their own health or the health of a relative. According to the bill, "an amount not to exceed $25 million may be transferred from the state's temporary disability fund to the new account to support start-up costs." The program is designed to run on the monies employees pay into the funds, which amounts to about $33 apiece annually.Read More >
The lobbyists' feeding frenzy continued in Trenton today as representatives from both the business and labor communities zeroed in on lawmakers in the hallways of power and attempted to elicit the promise of a yes or no vote on the issue of paid family leave.
The measure would extend state liability insurance to employees for up to six weeks, enabling workers to care for themselves, a newborn or a sick relative. Funding would come from the workers contributing on average a dollar a week from their salaries.Read More >
Sonny McCullough said it best in his election night concession speech: “I’d like to congratulate George Norcross.”
Norcross had a very good year for two reasons: he won the two races he was most heavily invested in, and he made tens of millions through the sale of Commerce Bank. The first expands his political power, and the second gives him even greater financial security – something that, in New Jersey, will make him even more powerful.
The General of the South was one of the driving forces behind the elections of Democrats Jeff Van Drew and Jim Whelan to the State Senate. He showed that his money and manpower could oust incumbents – hardly pushovers – in tough races. His ability to raise money – quickly and in large denominations – can stop a team of oxen dead in their tracks. He doesn’t let people tell him no, and gets that few New Jersey politicians have the testicular fortitude to turn him down anyway.
Whelan’s victory, particularly, gives Norcross added clout with the Atlantic City gaming industry. And Asselta’s defeat showed that Norcross’ support is more important than the active endorsement of New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech.
After the election, Norcross quickly endorsed a longtime rival, Richard Codey, for Senate President, and then got his man, Steve Sweeney, elected Senate Majority Leader – evidence that the truly successful know how – and when – to use their power. His friendship with Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts gives him incredible sway in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature. His alliance with Senator Raymond Lesniak gives the Norcross machine an embassy in the north.
Norcross faces new challenges in 2008: he is positioning to pick up a congressional seat the Republicans have held since 1884 – maybe even a second one, if Jeff Van Drew runs— and if Frank Lautenberg changes his mind, is well positioned to help Rob Andrews win a U.S. Senate seat.Read More >
A former administrator and a former shop foreman at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission were convicted at trial today of charges that they directed subordinate employees to complete repairs or improvements at private homes while on-duty for the PVSC, according to Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.Read More >
Days Since Last Christie Press Conference (Jan. 9)
Greenstein versus Watson Coleman in Princeton PRINCETON – When Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) Chairman Jim Durbin announced a second ballot runoff tonight and the losers headed for the back of the room, he alerted committee members to the names of the two surviving competitors. But people already...
BY JEFF BRINDLE Anytime now, the U.S. Supreme Court will render a decision in McCutcheon v. FEC. And while reformists may not like it, the high court is likely to allow national parties to raise far more money. That could strengthen them... Read More >
"The governor has allowed political cronyism to continue and even flourish, rather than stamp it out, with some of his closest confidants enriching themselves through millions of dollars in state contracts, and legal and lobbying fees, an Asbury Park Press review of thousands of pages of campaign, lobbying and contracting documents found."- The Asbury Park Press
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