Jose Torres

The State of the Party Organizations: Part One; Gilmore's Run and Range...

The State of the Party Organizations: Part One; Gilmore's Run and Range...

It's time once again for an examination of the state's county party organizations - the strongest and weakest - and the key players who occupy the positions of power in those outfits, starting with the Ocean County Republican Party.

Republicans

Strongest: Ocean

The sprawling South Jersey shore county numbers 100,276 registered R’s compared to 68,564 D’s (Bergen has more – 104,462 – but Dems outnumber them; Morris is comparable in terms of number and plurality). But the county invariably drives the biggest Republican statewide totals come general election time owing to Ocean’s Republican leanings among unaffiliated voters.

With statewide tentacles that reach into both parties, veteran Chairman George Gilmore stands firmly in charge here.

He’s in the middle of a run of success, having gambled hard in other key counties. Consider the key fundraising roles he played in Don Guardian’s successful Atlantic City mayoral run (2013), and in this year’s successful mayoral campaign of Jose “Joey” Torres in Paterson.

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The mayors on Christie's RGA schedule: are they concerned?

The mayors on Christie's RGA schedule: are they concerned?

JERSEY – On the day the three mayors from New Jersey’s three biggest cities huddled up with a public vow to partner to fight crime, PolitickerNJ asked them if they weren’t a little alarmed about Gov. Chris Christie’s vigorous Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) schedule.

The governor is frequently in and out of the state on a robust mission to elect GOP governors around the country.

Do they sense a fall-off in statewide front-office vigilance?

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Faced with violent crime wave, Baraka, Fulop and Torres forge three-city partnership

Faced with violent crime wave, Baraka, Fulop and Torres forge three-city partnership

JERSEY CITY – And then there were three.

That’s what it looked like, at least, when a late-arriving and widely beaming Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in cream-colored suit joined political allies Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka at a podium on MLK Boulevard and pledged partnership to an urban mayoral alliance to fight crime.

Murders in the state’s three biggest cities have Newark, Jersey City and Paterson – three-quarters of a million people - on high alert.

On one level, Baraka-Fulop-Torres showed the fiber of local urban governments.

But the threesome also appeared heavily tinged with politics. It’s hard not to note that both Fulop and the mayor’s rival in a budding gubernatorial drama, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), made a purse strings play for Torres love after their mutual first choice for mayor went belly up on May 13th.

Who was going to corral Torres as he settled into City Hall?

Today, it was Fulop – and his strongest ally, Baraka.

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Breaking: Speziale returning to Paterson to serve as Mayor Torres' police director

Breaking: Speziale returning to Paterson to serve as Mayor Torres' police director
Earlier today, Jerry Speziale, left, poses with Torres confidential aide Omar Rodriguez.

PATERSON - They say it's tough to get a decent slice of pizza in the south.

“There’s no pasta, that’s for sure,” cracked Jerry Speziale.

No offense to Prichard, Alabama, but Speziale wants to come home.

The former Passaic County Sheriff who fell out of favor with the Democratic Party establishment, bounced into a pair of blues at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on a GOP deal, and then ended up in a chief's uniform in the Yellowhammer State as he dealt with personal heartbreak, is returning to Paterson as police director in the administration of Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres.

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Heading into Tuesday, Currie says Sayegh-backers registered between 2,200 and 2,500 new voters

Heading into Tuesday, Currie says Sayegh-backers registered between 2,200 and 2,500 new voters
Paterson Councilman Ken McDaniel, on the ballot and in with Team Sayegh.

PATERSON – Passaic County Democratic Party Chairman John Currie said allies of Council President Andre Sayegh’s mayoral candidacy have registered between 2,200 and 2,500 new voters for tomorrow’s election.

Currie himself said he continues to personally hit the phones in an effort to drive up support for Sayegh, who’s running in a field of eight candidates that includes incumbent Mayor Jeff Jones and former Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres.

“Paterson is very important to me,” said the chairman. “I grew up in Paterson and I have wonderful memories of Paterson, and Andre Sayegh is the right person right now. Torres left the city and took $74,000 with him [in severance pay]. He left the city with legal battles that Jones is frankly still trying to clean up.

“Council President Sayegh is right for Paterson, and I am going to urge every Patersonian to go out and vote for Andre Sayegh,” he added.

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The cross-circuits of Democratic Party politics: past and future converge on tomorrow

The cross-circuits of Democratic Party politics: past and future converge on tomorrow
Paterson mayoral candidate Andre Sayegh and his wife and daughter attend a local church service on Sunday.

In this cycle, nursing confusions and mangled alliances from 2013 and intent on reformulating and hardening battle lines leading up to 2017, the statewide Democratic Party warred with itself locally, its internal divisions enhanced by overwhelming outside spending.  

The theaters all fit together – Paterson, Irvington, Trenton, Bayonne - and at the center stood Newark, in many ways the torque point for everything else.

Undiscovered territory undergirds these contests, specifically the amount of spending by independent expenditure groups: so far a total of $2.7 million in the cities – most of it ($2.6 million to date) in Newark; and the bulk of the Newark IE spending ($1.7 million) lined up in favor of establishment Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

The most independent spending locally prior to this year was $251,000 by Better Education for Our Kids (B4K) in the 2013 Jersey City mayor’s race.

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Wimberly defends his choice in Paterson mayor's race

Wimberly defends his choice in Paterson mayor's race
Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie - the longest-serving party chairman of a Democratic county committee - and now the state party chairman; impetus behind Wimberly's and other key party players' engagement on behalf of mayoral candidate Andre Sayegh.

PATERSON – This mayoral election has been unsettling – even agonizing - for Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35), Paterson, the man who might have run for mayor himself, who didn’t run and controversially backed another man for the job.

But amid a back boil of racial anger and street charges that he finds himself deflecting about loyalty and race-identity, on one level it’s getting easier for Wimberly now, he says – easier to fight for Council President Andre Sayegh, an Arab-American.

“You can be an albino transvestite from Yugoslavia and if you can get the job done, are competent, and can balance the budget, I will be with you,” said Wimberly.

Within a community that represents roughly 32% of the city, African-American leaders have pushed back against the assemblyman – who is black – protesting his affirmation of Democratic Party support for Sayegh.

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Battle stations Paterson: Canvassers in the streets, insiders on the phones

Battle stations Paterson: Canvassers in the streets, insiders on the phones

PATERSON - Downtown on Market Street the campaign headquarters of mayoral canddiate Jose "Joey" Torres had a full tilt swing to it in mid-afternoon on the Saturday before Election Day, as field commander Idida Rodriguez oversaw another outgoing battalion of canvassers.

Above the Great Falls in the 2nd Ward, home base of the former two-term mayor craving a return to City Hall, Torres workers in pairs of two walked the streets in door-to-door exercises on behalf of the candidate.

They weren't the only ones out there.

"Everyone's out today," said Rodriguez. "All the campaigns."

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Paterson Mayor's Race: McDaniel backs Sayegh; Codey in with Torres and COH

Paterson Mayor's Race: McDaniel backs Sayegh; Codey in with Torres and COH
Torres HQ on Friday afternoon.

PATERSON – The rain fell on the city.

In a battered headquarters downtown, a lone figure sat with his back to the door and a cord dangling from his ear.

“Este es Rigo Rodriguez,” said a voice emanating from the mouth that faced the wall.

“Para el alcalde.”

He was alone in the room, but for another man crunched against another wall on another phone.

“Poor Rigo,” is the assessment of rivals in this mayor’s contest, as if the retiring at-large councilman’s present condition of living under an indictment for voter fraud while running to serve as the city’s chief executive makes him more a candidate for sympathy than mayor.

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Heading into the Paterson Vortex: one week until Election Day; key teams, key players

Heading into the Paterson Vortex: one week until Election Day; key teams, key players

PATERSON – With one week to go before the May 13th Paterson Mayor’s election, colliding forces on the ground in the state’s ultimate retail politics town will look to a combination of financial resources and GOTV targeting as they seek a common destination: the chair of power on the second floor of City Hall.

Only one candidate will get there.

Below find a breakdown of the players and their strengths on those key teams gearing up for a showdown next Tuesday…

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The Back Room

Sources: Why Fox?

With the support of Gov. Chris Christie, Jamie Fox is on the fast track to get back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The question is why?

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 19th

NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...

Op-Ed

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 >

Contributors

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(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

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