By Wally Edge | January 12th, 2010 - 1:56pm
| More

Barbara Buono, who became the first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader today, won her first campaign for the Legislature after the Republican candidate turned out to be deeply flawed.

The Middlesex County-based 18th district went Republican in 1991 and 1993, when Jack Sinagra won a Senate seat and Jeff Warsh and Harriet Derman were elected to the State Assembly.  Derman resigned in February 1994 when the newly-elected GOP Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, named her Commissioner of Community Affairs.  Joanna Gregory-Scocchi won a special election convention later that month to replace Derman in the Assembly.

To run against Gregory-Scocchi in a November 1994 special election, Democrats picked Buono, then a 41-year-old Metuchen Councilwoman.  The political environment in the fall of 1994 was decisively Republican, and Gregory-Scocchi was favored to hold the seat.

The Gregory-Scocchi campaign fell apart that fall after amidst a controversy involving illegal immigration and a temporary employment company owned by the new Assemblywoman.  A van owned by Gregory-Scocchi's husband and used by her business to transport temp workers was stopped by local law enforcement, who found undocumented workers in the vehicle.  A few weeks before the election, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization (INS ) agents raided Gregory-Schocchi's place of business.

Illegal immigration was an issue the previous year after President Bill Clinton was forced to withdraw two U.S. Attorney General nominees after revelations that they employed undocumented workers as nannies.  Whitman's 1993 gubernatorial campaign nearly fell apart because of a similar issue; she was saved when it was disclosed that her primary opponent, former state Attorney General Cary Edwards, had a similar problem.

Fifteen years later, some Republicans remain convinced that then-State Sen. John Lynch, the Middlesex County Democratic leader, played a role in exposing Gregory-Scocchi's illegal immigrant problem -- although there has never been a confirmation of his role.

Buono beat Gregory-Scocchi 27,229 to 23,436, a 54%-46% margin.  In 1995, Buono was the top vote getter and Warsh lost his seat to Democrat Peter Barnes.

The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

Read More >

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...

Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

Contributors

(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

- PolitickerNJ.com

Poll

Was Frank X. Graves of Paterson New Jersey's best mayor?:

Resources

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources 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.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources