Morning News Digest: November 7, 2012

Obama Wins New Term as Electoral Advantage Holds

Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of the United States on Tuesday, overcoming powerful economic headwinds, a lock-step resistance to his agenda by Republicans in Congress and an unprecedented torrent of advertising as a divided nation voted to give him more time. (Zeleny, NY Times)


Republicans renew House control for 2 more years

Republicans recaptured control of the House early Wednesday, besting Democrats in a billion-dollar battle and ensuring that the chamber will be dominated by their conservative agenda. Reacting to President Barack Obama’s re-election, House Speaker John Boehner said voters want both parties to find common ground on repairing the economy.

By early Wednesday in the East, Democrats had knocked off 12 GOP House members — including 10 members of the huge tea party-backed House GOP freshman class of 2010. Republican losers included four incumbents from Illinois, two each from New Hampshire and New York, and one apiece from Florida, Maryland, Minnesota and Texas. )(Fram, AP)


Democrats retain narrow majority in Senate

 Democrats retained a narrow majority in the Senate on Tuesday, but Republicans kept their grip on the House, delivering another divided, and highly polarized, Congress.

The balance of power was likely to shift by no more than a seat or two, if at all. Neither record-low job approval ratings nor an avalanche of campaign spending appeared able to shake the dynamic that made the last Congress the most partisan since the Civil War. (Mascaro, LA Times),0,5956937.story


Republicans make modest gains in state governor races

Republicans were poised to increase their majority of U.S. governors’ offices on Tuesday, but the gains
could be limited as the party’s candidates fell behind in two close races in Western states.

Eleven governorships were in play on Tuesday, and Democrats were on the defensive with four of the party’s incumbents stepping down, compared with just one Republican.

Republicans picked up a governor’s seat in North Carolina as former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who narrowly lost a statehouse bid in 2008, notched a decisive victory over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton. He will be the state’s first Republican governor in 20 years. (Jenkins, Weber,  Reuters),0,1921273.story


The map wins the day

New Jersey will enter the new year with an evenly divided Congressional caucus as six Democrats and six Republicans won reelection to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

 All races but one ended with landslide, double-digit victories for the victor and the only “competitive” race in the state – the 3rd District where incumbent Republican John Runyan was challenged by Democrat Shelley Adler – saw the incumbent win by eight points.

Even massive voter confusion meant little to New Jersey’s electoral map. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)


Menendez gives victory speech

His son just introduced him and with Bruce Springsteen blaring, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) jogged up onto the stage in front of the American flag and claimed victory.

“Sen. Kyrillos called me and wished me well,” said Menendez, “and I wish him the same. I look forward to working with him to rebuild (storm-ravaged New Jersey).”

Menendez would likely not say later that he meant to endorse Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, but he had love in abundance tonight. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)


Kyrillos ends U.S. Senate campaign, calls on Menendez to “help rebuild New Jersey’

Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ quest to the U.S. Senate ended today, as he was handily defeated by Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez, according to unofficial results. About 150 people remained at the Nanina’s in the Park banquet hall.

He thanked the 8,000 donors and 400 volunteers who helped get the vote out. He acknowledged that the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy hampered his campaign.

“We had the storm of the century and that made things a little harder,” he said. Even though he was an underdog, he raised a respectable $5 million. But he was still significantly outspent.

He said the media “didn’t pay nearly as much attention…perhaps they didn’t understand what our campaign was about.” (Hassan, PolitickerNJ)


Dems take control of Bergen County Board of Freeholders

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS – The floor shook at the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton when the chairman of the Democratic Committee of Bergen County declared: “Bergen County is back.”

Chairman Lou Stellato just declared Democratic freehold candidates Steve Tannelli and Tracy Zur clinched their bids for the Bergen County Board of Freeholders – turning control of the board from Republican to Democratic. (Arco, PolitickerNJ) 


Diaz wins re-election with Vitale in her corner

Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz Tuesday night defeated her closest challenger, Billy Delgado, by 1,700 votes.

Diaz won 4,00 votes to Delgado’s 2,700.

Frank Salado placed third in a field of six. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)


N.J. may have seen record-low voter turnout in presidential election year

At first blush it looks like voter turnout in Sandy-ravaged New Jersey may set a record low for a presidential election year.

With 97 percent of the election districts reporting, a total of 3,241,875 New Jerseyans cast ballots in the presidential race.

That’s a shade less than 59 percent of the nearly 5.5 million registered voters, far lower than the state’s record low for a presidential year: 70 percent in 2000. (Staff, The Star Ledger)


N.J. voters say yes to ballot questions on higher education, judges’ benefits

Worries about the cost of rebuilding a state battered by Hurricane Sandy did not scare New Jersey voters away from approving $750 million in borrowing for the state’s colleges and universities Tuesday.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, the higher education bond question won the approval of more than 62 percent of voters. More than 83 percent favored a second ballot question that will allow lawmakers to force judges to pay more for their health and pension benefits.  (Heyboer, The Star Ledger)


Poll: Obama’s response to Sandy factor in NJ vote

Nearly four out of five New Jersey voters surveyed say President Barack Obama’s response to Superstorm Sandy was a factor in their vote.

An exit poll conducted by The Associated Press found nearly seven in 10 New Jersey voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the nation. (AP)


ACLU’s request to allow last-minute N.J. voting change stuck down by judge

With just one hour before polls closed, a Superior Court judge Tuesday night denied an application by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey to allow voters who experienced problems with electronic ballots to vote using a federal absentee ballot form.

After a near two-hour hearing, Judge Walter Koprowski Jr. in Newark said he was satisfied that the votes would be counted under a same-day directive issued by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno allowing people to submit mail-in ballots. (A. Friedman, The Star Ledger)


Maine, Maryland approve gay marriage, while Colorado legalizes marijuana

Voters a continent apart made history Tuesday on two divisive social issues, with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote while Washington state and Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana.

The outcomes in Maine and Maryland broke a 32-state streak, dating back to 1998, in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that held a vote on it. They will become the seventh and eighth states to allow same-sex couples to marry. (AP)


N.J. Assemblywomen secure seats in special election

They are already familiar faces in Trenton, appointed months ago to watch over their parties’ seats in the Assembly.

Now those seats are their own. Assemblywomen Betty Lou DeCroce, Gabriela Mosquera and Donna Simon won special elections to the Assembly on Tuesday, according to incomplete and unofficial returns. (Rizzo, The Star Ledger)

Fontoura wins 8th term as Essex County sheriff; Livingston picks new council, school board members

Armando Fontoura cruised to another victory last night, claiming an unprecedented eighth term as the Essex County sheriff.

Fontoura, a Democrat, claimed a predictably wide margin over his Republican opponent Orlando Mendez, a retired county corrections sergeant, for another three-year term.

The Essex County Clerk’s Office reported unofficial results for 512 of 557 districts shortly after 11 p.m. and Fontoura was well ahead. (Lee, The Star Ledger)


North Jersey turns out in high numbers for school board, county and local races

Navigating an altered election process that superstorm Sandy had threatened to throw into disarray, North Jersey voters turned out in high numbers Tuesday to elect town and county officials, weigh in on local ballot questions, and pick winners in school board elections that were held in November for the first time ever. (Boburg, The Record)

Democrats take complete control of Passaic County freeholder board

Democrats regain all seven seats on the Passaic County freeholder board Tuesday, with three newcomers ousting the GOP incumbents, according to unofficial results.

Ronda Casson Cotroneo, John Bartlett and Hector Lora  won with about 61  percent of the votes, putting Republicans Edward O’Connell, Deborah Ciambrone and Michael Marotta  out of a job after a single term. (Patberg, The Record)


Democrats regain control of Bergen County Freeholders

Democrats regained control of the Bergen County Freeholder board Tuesday for the first time in two years.

With just over 81 percent of the precincts reporting, the unofficial count showed North Arlington Councilman Steve Tanelli as the leading vote getter with 132,674 or 27 percent of the vote, followed by fellow Democrat Tracy Silna Zur of Franklin Lakes with 128,863 or 26 percent. (Ensslin, The Record)

Outside expenditures flowed in final two weeks of the season

U.S. Rep. John Runyan was the big winner in the outside expenditure sweepstakes in the election’s home stretch, drawing in more than $670,000 in the final two weeks of his re-election bid.

Runyan, (R-3) is seeking a second term in the House and is opposed by Democrat Shelley Adler. Adler is the wife of Jon Adler, who lost the seat to Runyan in 2010 and died of complications from a heart procedure soon after.

Since Oct. 23, Runyan has been flooded with expenditures on his behalf, the bulk of which came from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC.  In that time, the PAC has spent over $626,000 on television ads and web videos opposing Adler. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)

Here comes the country’s ‘Thelma and Louise’ moment

IT’S BEEN an 18-month thrill ride across the American Heartland, complete with Texas-size gaffes, a daring flight from substantive issues and finally a Grand Canyonesque cliffhanger.

But now that the story line of “Willard and Barack” has produced a result, is America ready for a “Thelma and Louise”-style bummer of an ending? It’s an approaching high-speed plunge off the so-called “fiscal cliff,” with a Polaroid snapshot of happier election times presumably floating skyward.

The nation’s political conversation now takes a sharp turn toward a man-made crisis that the candidates have been loath to discuss – possible tax increases on all American households, as well as mandatory steep spending cuts, especially in defense, that critics say will crush the plodding economic recovery. (Bunch, Daily News)


Waiting for 2016: Elizabeth Warren, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and David Petraeus

To win, President Obama and Mitt Romney each seemed willing to say almost anything,” said Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post on Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day.

This is a good day for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who so hoped for an Obama win that he embarrassed himself during the tragic storm in New Jersey by virtually endorsing the president. And it would then be a good day for Jeb Bush, who sees himself as Christie’s No. 2 in 2016. A Romney victory would have prevented that future for the Bush Dynasty. (Quigley, The Hill)


Republicans Face Struggle Over Party’s Direction

Mitt Romney’s loss to a Democratic president wounded by a weak economy is certain to spur an internecine struggle over the future of the Republican Party, but the strength of the party’s conservatives in Congress and the rightward tilt of the next generation of party leaders could limit any course correction. (Hulse, NY Times)



Intense nor’easter today with high winds, cold, rain, snow

A strong nor’easter storm that’s been upgraded to a ‘winter storm’ is forecast to wallop the already battered Shore and the Philadelphia region starting this afternoon into evening, bringing 50 mph winds and up to four inches of snow. (Kummer,


Nor’easter could bring more snow than expected to N.J.

For those hoping New Jersey would be spared by the nor’easter threatening to hit the state a week after Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, the forecast shows otherwise. The National Weather Service said the storm is definitely set to hit today — and it could bring more snow than expected. (Johnson, The Star Ledger)



Political Insider: Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is in big trouble following Coleman victory in Ward F

Jubilation broke out in the Martin Luther King Drive Ward F campaign headquarters of Diane Coleman after one of her campaign workers realized they defeated Councilwoman Michele Massey for the incumbent’s seat on the Jersey City council. (Torres, Jersey Journal)


Moran: As economy recovers and wars end, Obama’s 2nd term could be brighter

Only 16 men in American history have served two full consecutive terms as president, and now Barack Obama is likely to become No. 17.

History has not been kind to these presidents in their second terms, especially in modern times. Bill Clinton was impeached. Ronald Reagan had the Iran-Contra scandal. And Dwight Eisenhower had a spy plane shot down in Russia, and a sagging economy. (Moran, The Star Ledger)


Farmer: Get out the vote? Hudson County cornered the market

Vote theft was a subplot in this year’s presidential campaign, with charges by Republicans of identify theft, voting by illegal immigrants and the deceased — all Democrats and all unproved. The GOP reaction ranged from ordinary anger to red-faced outrage.

For me, the reaction was … nostalgia. (Farmer, The Star Ledger)



Morning News Digest: November 7, 2012