Winners and Losers: Week of August 30

WINNERS

Robert Asaro-Angelo

The four-year veteran of the Democratic State Committee landed his dream job when President Barack Obama this week appointed him labor secretary representative of the Northeast region. The son of union organizers, Angelo was a dedicated executive director for the Democratic Party whose meticulous attention created a Denver convention for New Jersey Democrats to remember – painfully, it turns out, for unraveling 2010 Dems who can’t turn the clock back to 2008.

 

Anna Little

This one comes with an asterisk. The upstart 6th Congressional District Republican scored an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, a good start to the week for the energetic Highlands mayor. But another explosion in the gulf and quick release outrage from U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) underscored fundamental longer-term trouble for Little, who supports off-shore oil drilling. Add to that a Glen Beck-fest in Washington with Tea Party Palinites and Little almost didn’t make this list. But coverage is coverage and when your opponent sits on a $4 million nest egg, free CNN coverage is a win.

 

John Adler

There’s a school of thought in this environment in the 3rd Congressional District that all GOP challenger Jon Runyan has to do is walk a straight line past Nov. 2nd and he wins. In the meantime, though, Adler does not intend to go quietly. He cut out early from President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform agenda, preferring to pursue those faces in the crowd wearing Navy ballcaps instead of hippy mop tops. He infuriated progressives in the process, but this week secured the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars-PAC in a district dominated by Fort Dix-McGuire. 

 

Rochelle Hendricks

It’s like calling the next guy on the Star Wars Imperial officers food chain a winner because Darth Vader just strangled his boss and put him in charge. Previously the Assistant Education Commissioner, Hendricks, called in by Gov. Christie to replace ousted commissioner Bret Schundler on an interim basis, has got to be checking that top button under her Adam’s Apple right about now. Still, a promotion is a promotion, and Schundler’s loss – at least temporarily – is Hendricks’ gain. 

 

Thomas Neff

The Senate Republican Office bulldog is heading to the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to back up Commissioner Lori Grifa as director of local services. The appointment amounts to the GOP rewarding a tough and effective soldier, who is said to be on the hunt for waste and abuse and geared up for an all-out, top-to-bottom cavity search of every municipality in the state.

  

LOSERS

Chris Christie

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the governor, whose fever to have one of his Tom Moran temper tantrums go viral – blinded him to Bret Schundler blowback. Rather than secure more blushes from Fox News anchors, the ongoing Schundler spat regurgitated headlines about New Jersey losing $400 million in education reform dollars nationally and dredged internal cabinet strife statewide. Now Christie just wants to get on the other side of Labor Day.

 

Bret Schundler

No man is island, said John Donne. But politically at least, Schundler this week came close. A pariah to Christie legions after his firing, Schundler in the political spotlight also reminded everyone about the bad blood between him and other movement conservatives like Steve Lonegan. Schundler thought Lonegan doomed his 2005 primary bid by running to everyone else’s right, then Lonegan choked down Schundler’s endorsement of Christie. Now Christie dumped Schundler, and the hard right’s conclusion is, “See what happens when you try to play nice with the establishment wing of the party.” The only people loving Schundler right now are Democrats: for denting Christie where they couldn’t. But can they get him a job?

 

Ron O’Malley

The former chairman of the Bergen County Improvement Authority was hit with a 68-count indictment by a federal grand jury for mortgage fraud that tied into his job at the county’s financial arm, sending yet another spasm of agony through County Executive Dennis McNerney and the terminally troubled Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO). 

 

Clifford Janey

Two years into his term, the Newark Schools superintendent found himself unwitting collateral in the Christie-Schundler fiasco as the Christie administration – more than happy to detonate the Schundler headlines and refocus the media on misery elsewhere – notified Janey that his contract would not be renewed.

 

John Matheussen

See Janey, as part of a two-prong defense mechanism by Gov. Christie. Taking evasive action after the Schundler debacle, the governor wasted no time trying to get the bull’s-eye off himself and plastered on the gloomy CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA). The uncomfortable message to Matheussen, pecked apart by the media in recent weeks for manning an authority rife with insider perks: shape it or ship it.

Winners and Losers: Week of August 30