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.
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.Read More >
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?Read More >
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.Read More >
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.Read More >
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.Read More >
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.Read More >
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.Read More >
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."Read More >
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.Read More >
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…Read More >
A former senior state correction officer from Newark was sentenced to prison today for trafficking 22 kilograms of cocaine from Texas to New Jersey, according to acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.Read More >
Bergen County Exec's race: Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich sees Bridgegate investigations as potential election catalyst FORT LEE - Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was the emcee of Tuesday's meet-and-greet event at the Richard A. Nest Adult Activity Center in his Bergen County borough, introducing U.S. Sen. Cory Booker...
By Jeff Brindle A lone PAC contribution to Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson’s campaign highlights the need for pay-to-play reform in New Jersey. During the recent mayoralty election in Trenton, newly elected Mayor Eric Jackson received an $8,200 campaign... Read More >
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