Ballot initiative defeats reverberate in Trenton, Beck becomes Republicans’ new rising star, Elmwood Park Borough Council charged in NYC real estate scheme, Frank Barbera pleads guilty.
WLIL THIS GIVE CORZINE AMMUNITION FOR MONETIZATION?
“Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he heard voters loud and clear in Tuesday's mid-term election and they are telling him to put the state's fiscal house in order.
"The voters have given us clear instructions to resolve our alarming and pressing financial problems," Corzine said at a Statehouse news conference. "To that purpose, I ask all of my legislative colleagues, from both parties, to join with me and put in place policies that will secure our state's financial future."
It was clearly a reference to his "asset monetization" plan, which would borrow against future toll increases on the New Jersey Turnpike and other roads.
But legislative leaders, emerging from a 90-minute meeting with Corzine later in the day, said that they will not be taking action on the governor's plan until after the new Legislature is sworn in Jan. 8.
"The plan isn't ready yet so we wouldn't have enough time to do it," Senate President Richard Codey said.
Said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, "The governor is committed to a very thorough public dialogue. That's a very important issue. To rush it would be irresponsible. I think we need to take our time with it and let the governor make his case."
Instead, the leaders said the agenda for lawmakers in the lame-duck session over the next two months will include a new formula for state funding of local public schools. They said they expect Corzine to publicly reveal his proposal sometime in the next two weeks.
"The new funding formula is a strong possibility to be introduced and voted on during lame duck," Codey said. ” (Howlett and Margolin, Star-Ledger)
“"Voters have given us clear instructions," Gov. Corzine said yesterday. "They told us to resolve our alarming and pressing financial problems."
The measures' defeat represented the first time a statewide ballot question has been voted down in 17 years.
"I give the voters a lot of credit," said Ingrid Reed of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. "They said we want respect. We know we're in bad financial shape. Why are you asking us to borrow more money?"
In fact, "we're not going to approve anything to do with money.”” (Moroz and Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Though voters rejected a proposal to borrow $450 million over 10 years for stem-cell research, New Jersey officials say they will proceed with backing the science.
Voters Tuesday rejected the measure, 53 percent to 47 percent, which many took as a sign of frustration with the heavy borrowing pushed by Trenton politicians. Gov. Jon S. Corzine said yesterday that he understands voters are demanding that the state's finances be put in order before taking on the project but will not halt plans to borrow $270 million to build stem-cell research facilities throughout the state.
"I believe there are enough dollars for research," Corzine said. "And I believe there are opportunities to share with the private sector these facilities, and our universities as well, that will make this viable as we go forward."
“I DON’T THINK YOU COULD RULE OUT SEEING HER AS A STATEWIDE CANDIDATE SOME DAY”
“The votes had barely been counted in the state's most hotly contested Senate race, and already people were predicting a bright future for the victor: Jennifer Beck.
"You'd have to say she's one of the rising stars in the Republican Party, without a doubt," said Joseph Marbach, chairman of the political science department at Seton Hall University.
"Jennifer Beck is going to be someone you're going to hear a lot about in the next 20 years," Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson said. "I don't think you could rule out seeing her as a statewide candidate some day. I don't think you could rule out seeing her as a congressional candidate some day."
Beck, 40, who handily defeated Sen. Ellen Karcher (D-Monmouth) in the 12th District, spent yesterday returning congratulatory phone calls. She said she was also recovering from a grueling campaign — and a victory celebration that went "pretty late."
The senator-elect brushed aside speculation about her future.
"I am solely focused on working in the state Senate," said Beck, who is finishing her first term in the Assembly. "We've got a lot facing us in the next four years. I look forward to being part of the solution." ” (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)
NOT THE HAPPIEST ANNIVERSARY FOR MONGELLI
“Joseph Mongelli, the president of the Elmwood Park Borough Council, participated in a real estate scheme that defrauded investors of about $40 million, authorities in New York City charged Wednesday.
Mongelli, 43, turned himself in to authorities at state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday — his 15th wedding anniversary. He was released on $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty to grand larceny and other charges, his attorney, Eric Franz, said.
Mongelli said he has resigned his posts as a prosecutor in the Central Bergen and Paramus municipal courts in the wake of the allegations. He said he had been charged along with his former law partner, Peter Vogel, and a third defendant, Joseph Greenblatt.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office confirmed Mongelli appeared in court, but said she was not able to provide a detailed account of the charges.
Mongelli, a lawyer with a practice in Hackensack, denied any wrongdoing late Wednesday.
"I'm a licensed attorney, licensed prosecutor and dedicated community servant," Mongelli said. "I'm looking forward to clearing my name of any charges."” (Lamb, Clunn and Kindergan, Bergen Record)
BARBERA PLEADS GUILTY
“Two months after attempting to kill himself, Atlantic City real estate agent and political operative Frank Barbera pleaded guilty yesterday to a bribery charge tied to the ongoing political corruption probe in that South Jersey resort.
Saying he was "taking full responsibility for what happened" and declaring that "I'm very happy to be alive," Barbera admitted making four payments totaling $5,000 to then-City Council President Craig Callaway in 2005.
Barbera entered his plea during a hearing before Judge Robert Kugler in U.S. District Court in Camden.
The cash, Barbera said, was in exchange for Callaway's promise to help influence potential development at Bader Field, the city's now-shuttered airport.
The historic site is considered the undeveloped jewel of the casino city, with an estimated value of between $800 million and $1 billion, according to real estate experts.” (Anastasia, Philadelphia Inquirer)
LANCE ALL BUT ADMITS IT
“New Jersey legislators from both parties are set to meet today to discuss leadership posts in each house.
What remains to be seen is whether Sen. Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon/Warren, will retain the top Republican position as Senate minority leader.
"I think we're going to have a healthy discussion, and I think we will emerge united," Lance said Wednesday, declining to elaborate.
Lance, of Clinton Township, has held the post since 2004 and served as a quiet watchdog for the Republicans in the upper house.
In 2004, he victoriously waged a lawsuit against former Gov. Jim McGreevey to end the practice of borrowing to balance the state budget. He served as a staunch opponent of borrowing without voter approval and has called for ethics reform on the state level.
But now, on the heels of an election in which Republicans actually lost a seat in the upper house, political observers say it may be time for a change.
"In a lot of ways, this was a status quo election, besides the 1st, 2nd and 12th (districts)," said Joseph Marbach, a political science professor at Seton Hall. "If the Republicans need to break out, it may be time to look for new leadership." ” (Graber, Express-Times)
SOUTH JERSEY DEMOCRATIC INFLUX BODES WELL FOR SWEENEY
“On the heels of an election in which South Jersey Democrats claimed six Senate seats, Trenton may be headed for a shakeup.
Both parties will meet today to discuss leadership posts, with the influential majority leader and Senate budget chairmanships up for grabs.
Sen. Stephen Sweeney, elected to a third term, is openly vying for a key position, but stopped short Wednesday of predicting how the scheduled meeting with Senate President Richard Codey and other Democratic colleagues would end.
"We'll see how it turns out," said Sweeney, D-3 of West Deptford.
However, Sweeney did reflect on the greater presence of South Jersey senators resulting from Tuesday's election including Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew grabbing Sen. Nicholas Asselta's seat in the 1st District and Assemblyman Jim Whelan taking Sonny McCullough's in the 2nd stating that it will ultimately benefit the region.
"It just brings more to the table," Sweeney said. ” (Graber, Express-Times)
NO MONETIZATION YET
“Top legislative Democrats said they wouldn't be spending the weeks before the new Legislature convenes weighing Gov. Corzine's plan to try to resolve state fiscal woes through increased highway tolls.
But Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. and Senate President Richard J. Codey said yesterday that legislators would likely debate a new way to fund public schools and whether to abolish the death penalty.
Corzine has discussed his plan to make more money off state properties, such as toll roads, for months but hasn't unveiled a formal plan.
Republicans had warned that Corzine would present a toll-increase plan after Tuesday's election, in which Democrats retained legislative control, and push it through the Legislature in the weeks before a new legislative session begins Jan. 8. But after meeting with Corzine yesterday, Roberts and Codey said that would not happen.
"The plan isn't ready yet, so we don't have enough time to do it," said Codey (D., Essex). ” (Hester, AP)
BARONI IS A SUPERSTAR, BUT WHERE WERE HIS COATTAILS?
“Assemblyman Bill Baroni won big in the 14th district state Senate race, blowing out Democrat Seema Singh with 62% of the vote. He won Hamilton Township with 76%.
But the politically competitive district remains split, with two Democrats capturing seats in the State Assembly.
Incumbent Linda Greenstein prevailed in her bid for a fifth term, and her running mate, labor leader Wayne DeAngelo, outpaced Baroni’s running mates, Tom Goodwin and Adam Bushman. Greenstein received 28,172 votes; DeAngelo, 25,037; Goodwin, 24,245; and Bushman, 23,663.
Greenstein was facing some handicaps in the race: Baroni’s emergent star power at the top of the rival ticket; a state ethics investigation against Singh; an 11th hour unraveling of the candidacy of Democratic Mayor Glen Gilmore in Hamilton (who ultimately lost to John Bencivengo); and a sustained ad campaign launched against her by a conservative organization called Common Sense America.
That helped Greenstein get $100,000 in rescue money from the Clean Elections program – the public financing program that both parties participated in.
But she stayed competitive in Hamilton, where voter turnout was 49%. ” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)
ASSELTA REFLECTS ON 12 YEARS IN TRENTON
“Nicholas Asselta sat in his legislative office Wednesday pondering the last 12 years as point of power in the City of Vineland and wondering how it all came to an end Tuesday night.
Asselta, who was appointed in 1995 to fill the unfinished term of state Assemblyman
Frank LoBiondo, once was considered untouchable in the 1st Legislative District, which includes Vineland, Millville, Maurice River Township, part of western Atlantic and all of Cape May counties.
n one of the most acrimonious and closely watched races, Democratic Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew bested the incumbent for his senate seat.
The 56-year-old Asselta was all but unknown in political circles when he filled the state seat left vacant when LoBiondo moved on to Congress, but Asselta quickly established himself as a regional powerhouse in his own right.
During the years of Republican rule in Trenton, Asselta frequently bucked his own party's leadership and paid for it in political capital, he said.
But his support of district causes helped him win the hearts of the notoriously independent voters of southern New Jersey. He went on to win re-election as Assemblyman and eventually the district's state Senate seat……..
“I always voted for the needs of my district, not the needs of the political bosses in Trenton," Asselta said during a somber interview Wednesday morning. "It was the people of the district who elected me and those were the people I represented."” (Jackson, Daily Journal)
“A CHINK IN THE REPUBLICAN ARMOR”
“Republicans may have had more victories in Atlantic and Cape May counties Tuesday, but their Democratic opponents did more to capture political control of the region by winning a pair of Senate seats long held by Republicans.
The well-funded Senate victories of Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, and James Whelan, D-Atlantic, expand the power base of a Democratic Party steadily blanketing New Jersey.
Harrison, who ran for Atlantic County freeholder as a Democrat in 1996, is one of the most-quoted political analysts in the state and provided live commentary for New Jersey Network on election night.
"Typically, the Democrats, at most, have been able to pick up a one-term assembly seat. This is clearly not that. The power base did expand," she said.
While Republicans managed to win both Assembly seats in the 2nd District, the Senate seats wield more influence. State senators hold veto power over all gubernatorial appointments from the district and can influence the purse strings of state agencies such as the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
Whelan may have benefited from a rift between McCullough and his predecessor, longtime state Sen. Bill Gormley, R-Atlantic.
"The big story in my mind is the Gormley influence," Harrison said. "I think his victory was solidified because people were protesting against McCullough because of the Gormley-McCullough split."” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)
COMPARE AND CONTRAST WITH POLITICSNJ’S OWN LIST
Retired state Sen. Bill Gormley and outgoing Assemblyman Frank Blee – The longtime leaders of the Atlantic County Republican Party refused to support state Sen. James 'Sonny' McCullough. Blee went as far as to endorse Whelan. Now comes the second-guessing. Would Blee have been a more formidable candidate?
Future county sheriff candidates – After losing the county executive race by 33 points, Atlantic County Sheriff Jim McGettigan has gone from popular vote-getter to, well, highly vulnerable. ……….
Frank LoBiondo – The congressman strongly backed McCullough, helping him get the Atlantic County Republican Committee nomination over Assemblyman Frank Blee. He also played a leading role in the campaign of state Sen. Nicholas Asselta. Both men lost. In the 1st District race, LoBiondo campaign manager Maryanne Harper directed a get-out-the-vote effort for the Asselta slate that failed.
Atlantic County elections office – The reporting of election results was an unqualified disaster. Totals were still unknown well past midnight.
Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. – He led the effort to have the 2006 state sales-tax increase dedicated to property-tax relief. Voters said the money should be saved for a more prudent use.
Gov. Jon S. Corzine – He made a show on Election Day of supporting a bond for stem-cell research. Voters shot it down.
AFL-CIO – The union's effort to convince voters to split their ticket fell short. It backed a Republican Senate candidate – Asselta – who lost, as did Atlantic County Democratic Assembly candidate Joe Wilkins. Two union guys did win Assembly seats, though: John Amodeo, R-Atlantic, and Nelson Albano, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic.” (Press of Atlantic City)
WILL IT GO RIGHT BACK TO VOTING REPUBLICAN AFTER VAN DREW RUNS FOR CONGRESS?
“Democrats on Wednesday said they captured the 1st Legislative District for the first time this week by appealing to its traditionally conservative voters.
Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat, coasted to victory against a popular Republican, Nicholas Asselta, through shoe-leather campaigning and ample check writing. But more than that, he said he tried to reflect the district's moderate base.
His running mates, first-term incumbent Nelson Albano and newcomer Matt Milam, likewise won in an Assembly race that wasn't particularly close. "The biggest hurdle was that the 1st District is generally considered a Republican district," Cape May County Democratic Party leader James Pickering said.” (Miller, Press of Atlantic City)
SO 19% OF PEOPLE DO NOT LOVE THEIR MOTHERS
“New Jersey voters told pollsters this summer that they supported embryonic stem cell research by a margin of 71 percent to 19 percent.
Those are numbers you normally find only when you ask people if they love their mothers. So the fact that those same voters soundly rejected the stem cell initiative on Tuesday's ballot was a shock, maybe even a turning point.
The meaning was unmistakable. Voters no longer trust Democrats to handle their money.
They're not ready yet to switch partners and hand power to Republicans. But they want their Democrats to sober up.
"We better straighten up and get our house in order," said Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Bergen County. "This progressive blue state is asking questions about what we Democrats actually stand for. The dialogue is going to be different now." ” (Moran, Star-Ledger)
GOOD THING LONEGAN HAD ALL THAT CHEAP LABOR TO PUT TOGETHER SIGNS
“Two years ago Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, the de facto leader of New Jersey's marginalized conservative wing, came in fourth in the Republican gubernatorial primary with a mere 8 percent of the vote.
This year, as head of the state chapter of taxpayer advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, Lonegan led the charge in defeating two money-related ballot questions, and nearly a third, in what many claim was a referendum on the Democrats' stewardship of the state's finances.
It's been 17 years, and 37 questions, since voters turned one down before Tuesday's defeat of measures to borrow $450 million over 10 years to fund stem-cell research and to dedicate $650 million of sales tax revenue for property tax relief. A third question — to borrow $200 million for open space — was approved by 54 percent of voters in what marked the lowest approval of an open-space bond in New Jersey history.
"I think he's a serious threat," said New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel, who accuses Americans for Prosperity of being backed by polluters — a claim Lonegan refutes. "We're going to have to take him very seriously in the future."
"He clearly won on the stem-cell issue. Whether or not he was entirely responsible for the defeat of that measure, he can certainly claim credit for it," said Montclair State University political scientist Brigid Harrison. "It bolsters his political clout."” (Volpe, Gannett)
FIRST REPUBLICAN GAIN IN 16 YEARS
“Democrats will maintain a majority in both legislative houses next January, but Republicans will experience a slightly louder voice after election returns gave the GOP its first gain in its number of Trenton lawmakers in 16 years.
Following a Republican romp in 1991, Democrats have seen net increases every election cycle. This year, however, Democrats suffered the small drop of one seat — two lost in the Assembly, where they still hold a 48-32 edge, and one gained in the Senate for a 23-17 majority.
The election also yielded the defeat of two ballot questions pushed by Democratic Party leaders. In addition, Republicans gained mayoral seats that had been held by Democrats in three of the state's 12 largest municipalities — Toms River and Brick in Ocean County and Hamilton in Mercer County.
Republican State Committee Chairman Tom Wilson said the election may signal the beginning of the "pendulum swinging back" in favor of Republicans.
"Democrats have had total control in what has gone on in state government for six years, and voters are growing impatient," Wilson said.” (Rispoli, Gannett)
“Camden County poll workers botched the retrieval of election results from seven electronic machines Tuesday night, and none of the votes cast on them will be counted – for now.
No election outcomes were affected because the machines were in places that did not have close races, County Superintendent of Elections Phyllis Pearl said………
"Sometimes a board worker will forget to take a cartridge out of a machine. It happens," she said, noting that poll workers start their day at 5 a.m. and don't finish until around 10 p.m.” (Hefler, Philadelphia Inquirer)
BERGEN COUNTY POST-MORTEM
“As the dust settles in Bergen County and the political parties spin the election results, you can expect to hear the Republicans talking a lot about Rutherford.
It’s where Republican challenger John Hipp trampled Democratic incumbent Mayor Bernadette McPherson — beating her by a margin of 2-1, and tying the council 3-3, with two Republican candidates ousting incumbent Democrats.
Republicans also point to mayoral takeovers or gained council seats in several of the county’s 70 municipalities – most prominently Hillsdale, where they beat incumbent Democratic Mayor Dennis S. Deutsch………..
Meanwhile, Democrats made progress in five towns, gaining a mayoral seat or control of the council in Oradell, Bogota, Bergenfield, Westwood and Waldwick.
Bergen County Republican Chairman Rob Ortiz, who’s held the position since July, credits an unlikely source for his strategy: Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero. In this context, Rutherford takes on added significance as one of the first towns that Ferriero turned blue in 1999.
“I can’t speak to how the party used to operate. I can only speak to how I envision us taking back the county, it’s the same way as the Ferriero model,” said Ortiz. “I plan on taking back town after town.”………
In Rutherford, the controversial EnCap development was, along with property taxes, a major force in McPherson’s defeat. It was also the main theme of Guarino’s campaign.
That, say some Republicans, should have the state party kicking itself for not throwing any money at the race. They’re also upset at the county party’s past Chairman, Guy Talarico, for spending $400,000 on a primary race in June that could have been spent on against Democrats……..
Democrats say that off-year elections are Republicans’ high
“They could have spent money and expanded those numbers exponentially, but there was no need to,” said Joe Ferriero of Sarlo’s campaign. “If anything it demonstrated smart leadership to not waste money to drive up those numbers.”
Sarlo spokesman Chris Eilert said that the anti-incumbent wave in Rutherford likely suppressed some of Sarlo’s support in that town as well, accounting for what look like Sarlo’s modest numbers.
“This is a district that one cycle ago still had Republican representation, and we’re very pleased with our results,” said Eilert. “It’s a very solid win and it’s clearly a mandate.’ (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
IT GOES ON AND ON
“There's no rest for political junkies.
As the Statehouse race and stunning defeat of a couple of ballot questions slip into the past, the politically inclined are focused on the Feb. 5 presidential primary and a few congressional races that will keep the adrenaline pumping.
So far, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) is running ahead in polling on the Democratic side of the presidential race in New Jersey, while former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is leading the Republican pack, according to polls.
In Burlington County, where Republicans held onto their turf in county and state offices, U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R., N.J.) faces a challenge from State Sen. John Adler (D., Camden), the Harvard-educated lawyer who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Adler has persuaded the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to target the race, and he starts with $229,000 in his campaign fund. Being recognized by the committee means substantial help in raising money and finding the right political consultants………
n the Shore district where U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R., N.J.) has held office since 1994, Democrats also are looking at changing demographics. They are heartened by Tuesday's victories by former Atlantic City Mayor and Assemblyman James Whelan over State Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough, and Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D., Cape May) over State Sen. Nicholas Asselta (R., Cape May).
The two Democrats – Whelan and Van Drew – took their victories in many of the same communities LoBiondo represents.
Yesterday, the LoBiondo campaign didn't want to talk about it. However, LoBiondo is a rugged campaigner who has taken home 2-1 victories in recent races.
The U.S. Senate fight card pits U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) against a Republican to be named, most likely Anne Evans Estabrook, a wealthy Spring Lake developer, or Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, a dentist who won a state Senate seat Tuesday.” (Burton, Philadelphia Inquirer)
TOO MANY BODIES
“The South Gate Manor in Freehold resembles a mausoleum but inside on Tuesday night, the mood was far from dead as the competitors and operators and Republican revelers joyfully watched the Democratic Party sink inch by inch into oblivion………..
A few hours earlier the streets of this Monmouth County town in the 12th district were packed with young people who'd been bussed in to wave "Karcher-Panter-Mallet" signs and go door-to-door to drum votes for the Democratic ticket here in this Republican county. Karcher campaign spokesman Mike Premo was very upbeat in the swirl of happy, youthful activity and couldn't resist stifling a belly laugh at the store front set up of his rivals on the other side of town, where an erstwhile corps of GOP supporters didn't have a fifth of the manpower as the Dems, by the looks of it.
But a Democratic Party insider, longtime veteran of primary street battles, said it's dangerous to jam the streets with bodies and a festive atmosphere in a district where the vote generally leans toward the other party.
"If you create that Election Day buzz in a big way, particularly in a district that might not otherwise be used to that kind of buzz, all you're doing is reminding voters that it's time to vote," said the insider. "When your numbers and the depth of your voting base don't equal theirs, that could be a risky strategy.” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)
NEW JERSEY COULD GET ANOTHER THING WITH TRUMP’S NAME ON IT
“Real estate developer and casino boss Donald Trump announced yesterday he had signed a deal to take over the troubled EnCap project in the Meadowlands.
The bailout could be costly. Trump estimated the price of the luxury golf courses and condominiums could rise five-to-10 times the original project estimate of $1 billion, if done in his signature style.
"I look forward to working on the development," Trump said. "When completed, it will be one of the finest of its kind anywhere in the world."
Once a darling of state officials thrilled with its plans to transform several spent landfills into shiny new ratables, the project had fallen on hard times as the sizzling housing market cooled.
Details of Trump's plan for the massive development were sketchy. He vowed to enlist three premier master planners to sketch out new designs over the next 120 days.
Trump intends to scrap the original EnCap plan, which called for two golf courses, at least 2,000 residential units, hotels and other development. Riddled with debt and in trouble with environmental regulators, the project ground to a halt in recent months. ” (Haven and Ben-Ali, Star-Ledger)
“Less than 24 hours after his razor-thin victory in Tuesday's mayoral election, Republican John Bencivengo was making plans for his January takeover of the township government.
Bencivengo, who defeated Mayor Glen D. Gilmore Tuesday by just under 600 votes out of more than 25,700 cast, said yesterday that while many personnel decisions would need to be made, his mind was already made up on one.
"The business administrator will not be John Mason," he said. "If it wouldn't cause turmoil, I would ask him to leave now."
Mason was at the center of the recent controversy over the township's annual financial statement that may have cost Gilmore the election. Despite repeated requests from council members for the document, Mason refused to turn it over, claiming it was a draft document and not subject to public review. ” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)
HUGHES – MERCER COUNTY’S BIG WINNER
“Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes won his reelection by the widest margin in a county executive race since the office was created, leading county races that were largely successful for Democrats everywhere but Hamilton.
Hughes trounced Republican Janice Mitchell Mintz, 43,298 votes to 25,432, with provisional ballots and the results from seven machines yet to be counted. He be came the first county executive to win every county municipality.
The Democrats also scored victories in both freeholder positions up for election, picked up a state Assembly seat in the 14th District, and won 19 of 25 municipal offices up for election.” (Kitchenman¸ Star-Ledger)
ONE WAY TO GET MORE WOMEN IN THE LEGISLATURE: INDICT THE MEN
“When the year began, Passaic County Freeholder Director Elease Evans did not intend to be one of a record number of women elected to the State House in November.
But at noon Thursday, Evans will be in Trenton, with her family and closest friends nearby, to be sworn in as a 35th District assemblywoman.
And so will begin Evans' transition from dealing with county taxes and a golf course sale to tackling property tax reform, the school funding formula and air quality in New Jersey.
"All of these things that I have bottled up in here, that I couldn't do anything about as a freeholder," Evans said exuberantly, her face beaming with anticipation from behind her desk in her freeholder office, "you look at this now, and you get excited and say, 'Oh, now I can do something.' And you might get there and they'll say, 'Sorry Miss. Go sit over there, little girl. You just arrived.'"” (Brubaker, Herald News)
ZIMMER THE WINNER
“HOBOKEN – Dawn Zimmer was sworn in last night as 4th Ward councilwoman for the second time in four months, filling the seat that remained vacant since she stepped down in September.
She received a standing ovation from her supporters last night after the brief ceremony at the start of the council meeting at City Hall……
“I felt I had the support throughout all of the 4th Ward," Zimmer said after she was sworn in last night. "On July 1, I said I didn't know what I was getting into, but after the summer I realized that I really did not know what I was getting into."
Zimmer was welcomed back to the City Council by Council President Theresa Castellano. "It was tough having an empty chair," she said.
Campos served as the 4th Ward councilman until his term ended on June 30. He led the balloting among four candidates in the regular May election, then challenged the results of the June runoff in Superior Court after losing to Zimmer by eight votes.
Zimmer said that she now wants to concentrate on uniting the ward that appeared so divided during the election.
"This has been an extremely divisive race," Zimmer said. "All I am asking is for people to give me a chance because I want to represent everyone. I understand that it is going to take time to build that bridge." ” (Hack, Jersey Journal)
“It is over for Chris Campos and it begins anew for Dawn Zimmer, the new 4th Ward City Council member. One of the most entertaining and emotional series of elections in Hoboken history has – sadly for this writer – come to an end
They were dancing in the street, First Street to be exact. The shouting ranged from unbridled joy to someone having a bad day at the dentist, but it was all good for Zimmer backers.
She won on the machine and the concern for her campaign was what those absentee ballots meant. The Grendel of Hoboken, Gerry McCann, former Jersey City mayor and the man they all hated, had collected several hundred absentee ballots for Campos. Throughout the campaign, no one could put a stake through McCann's heart. In the end, only about 200 Campos absentees were counted and Zimmer had a number of her own. Campos could not make up the difference, and there are not enough provisionals to save him.
Campos people believe that the questions brought out the vote and that the cold rain in the morning did not help him. Zimmer people came our later in the afternoon and when people arrived home from work.
A Union City contingent was present at Zimmer headquarters. They hate Mayor and Senator-elect Brian P. Stack and they wanted him to know it. Jose Falto and Frank Scarafile Jr. were among the anti-Stacks who asked this columnist to wish their antagonist "hello."
Actually, there was little support from Stack and other members of the Democrats for Hudson County. It was not lost on some of the Campos backers who shrugged. They were already gearing up for next week's City Council meeting. So were the Zimmer people.
"I can't wait," said former councilwoman and mayoral candidate Carol Marsh of the council session. ” (Torres, Jersey Journal)
HOW DRY I AM
“Redevelopment and tax ratables over tradition?
By the closing of the polls Tuesday night, voters in one South Jersey municipality said they'd drink to that while residents of two other towns vigorously decided to pass.
In the end, it all went to show what a hot-button issue going wet or staying dry remains in the Garden State.
Voters in Stratford in Camden County cast their ballots in favor of allowing liquor licenses by 1,551-495 – a ratio of more than 3-1. That was not the result of electoral whim, according to Gerald Zekas, chairman of Stratford's economic development committee.
"We had a major education campaign here," Zekas said. "We pulled out all the stops."” (Giordano and Hefler, Philadelphia Inquirer)
HANDS OFF THE MONEY
“Eight different governments asked. Six were told no. North Jersey voters sent a clear message that they're tying up the purse strings – even when it comes to open space.
Distrust of politicians, combined with low turnout and cranky voters, means fewer dollars for parkland and warding off developers.
Although Demarest approved continuing its open space fund, residents of Oakland, Oradell, Franklin Lakes, Paramus and Clifton all said no.
And Bergen County's bid to increase its tax was rejected. Yet, about 56 percent of those same voters approved the state's open space question.” (Pries, Bergen Record)
ATLANTIC COUNTY REPUBLICANS STOP THE BLEEDING
“Unofficial election results show Republicans on Tuesday finally stopped a trend that saw their hold on the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders dwindle over the past few years.
Republican Joe McDevitt defeated incumbent Democrat Joe Kelly to win an at-large seat on the board that was contested countywide and for which final results weren't available for hours after the polls closed Tuesday.
Coupled with a victory by another Republican -Galloway Township Councilman Rich Dase – the party increased its board majority from 5-4 to 6-3. Dase defeated Democrat Jill Foley for the 4th District seat, a traditionally Republican seat that represents Brigantine, Port Republic, Absecon and Galloway Township.” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)
SOMERSET STAYS THE SAME
“In a status quo election, Somerset County voters left Republicans in charge and Democrats variously deflated or demanding a rematch.
With only a 38 percent turnout and virtually every candidate talking about controlling taxes, both parties went negative in county races for sheriff and a freeholder seat.
Democrats sought to capitalize on the scandal surrounding the county park commission, accused of violating state bidding laws while giving work to favored vendors and lavish perks to some employees.
Republicans countered by noting Democratic sheriff candidate Richard Myers had been fired from his longtime job at the county prosecutor's office. In a series of pot-calling-the-kettle black mailings, Republicans also charged Democrats take advantage of loopholes in the state's lax political contribution laws.
"I think it was the way things had to be run, but personally I wasn't happy with it on either side and I expressed that to my chairman," said Assemblyman Christopher Bateman (R-Somerset), newly elected state senator in the 16th District. ” (Tyrell, Star-Ledger)
IN HUNTERDON COUNTY
“Hunterdon County Republicans rallied behind an outsider to keep control of the sheriff's office, leaving Democrats to point to gains in some municipal races.
With no federal races to headline the ticket and only a 40 percent turnout, the county Republican organization showed its ability to get loyal supporters to the polls Tuesday.
Well-known freeholder candidates George Melick, a 30-year incumbent, and Will Mennen, a Tewksbury township committee man and prominent lawyer, helped that effort.
But the county's major race featured Democrat Bruce Cocuzza, Lambertville's police director and a law enforcement veteran, against the upset winner of the Republican primary, Mercer County Sheriff's Officer Deborah Trout. ” (Tyrell, Star-Ledger)
IN SUSSEX COUNTY
“With Tuesday's election over, political jockeying for next year's races in Sussex County has begun.
The all-Republican five-member freeholder board should have two new faces next year. One is Jeffrey Parrott, who was elected freeholder Tuesday and will be sworn into office in January. The other would be tapped by Republicans at a county convention to fill a vacancy expected when Freeholder Gary Chiusano, who won election Tuesday to the state Assembly, is sworn into that office in Trenton on Jan. 8.” (Lockwood, Star-Ledger)
“MARK MY WORDS. I AM GOING TO TAKE EVERY CAMPAIGN DOLLAR WE HAVE TO FIND OUT WHO DID THIS.”
“He had just been re-elected in what was expected to be the tightest countywide race but Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio was hardly in a mood to celebrate late Tuesday.
The usually upbeat freeholder was still fuming over an anonymous mailer sent to voters in the days before the election that questioned his loyalty to his wife and fellow Republicans.
"It was the lowest form of any campaign I had ever seen in my 28 years of running for office," the married father of two said. "It's sick. I don't need this job that bad."
He added: "Mark my words. I am going to take every last campaign dollar we have to find out who did this. It's an act of cowards."
Warren County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Sedita, a fellow Hackettstown resident, called the oversized postcard mailer "reprehensible" and said he doubted a Democrat sent it out, noting that it mentioned GOP primaries and was sent only to Republicans.
DiMaio garnered 48 percent of the vote and defeated independent Henry D. Dinger, a former county administrator and longtime county employee who received 30 percent of the vote. Democrat Damiano Fracasso received 23 percent of the vote.
"I think people know me. I'm a working kind of businessman. I'm not a big-shot kind of guy," DiMaio said. "And in the end, God bless the Republican Party. They bring out numbers." ” (Frassinelli, Star-Ledger)
IN CHERRY HILL
“CHERRY HILL — The township's mayor and council elections Tuesday were the tightest they've been in at least a decade as some Republican candidates came close to beating their long-dominant Democratic opponents.
The near-win, however, isn't a sign of the Camden County Republicans making headway in Cherry Hill, current and past GOP candidates said.” (Grazyboski, Courier-Post)
“Voters re-elected two incumbent Republicans to the Township Committee on Tuesday despite a split of sorts between the running mates.
Republican Mayor Andrew Lucas and Committeewoman Susan Cohen won their seats with 3,053 and 2,956 votes, respectively, according to unofficial tallies.
Democratic challenger and former mayor Drew Shapiro received 2,568 votes, and Democrat Herbert Barrack received 2,592 votes. Independent candidate Joseph DePasquale, a Board of Education member, received 1,517 votes.” (Boyd, Asbury Park Press)
“Summit residents overwhelmingly returned Mayor Jordan Glatt to a second term yesterday while in Kenilworth, voters chose Councilwoman Kathi Fiamingo to be the borough's next mayor.
Both Glatt and Fiamingo handily defeated their opponents, garnering nearly 60 percent of the vote. Glatt, a Democrat, defeated GOP Councilman Michael Vernotico, while Fiamingo, a Republican, bested Councilman Peter Corvelli, a Democrat.” (Gluck, Star-Ledger)
IN SEAT BRIGHT
“SEA BRIGHT — Democratic Councilwoman Maria D. Fernandes unseated Republican Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams by a razor-thin margin in Tuesday's election, but Fernandes said she won't declare victory until the provisional ballots are counted on Friday. Fernandes received 272 votes, and Kalaka-Adams garnered 267.
The nine provisional ballots will decide the race, according to the municipal clerk's office.” (Rizzo, Asbury Park Press)
“ORADELL — Voters said they upset a long history of GOP dominance because they wanted a change and a choice.
Until very recently, two-party rule here meant division between Republicans and "independents" or "alternatives," who were often Republicans who had split from the party. No Democrat has been elected mayor in at least 20 years.” (Kindergan, Herald News)
IN SEASIDE PARK
“SEASIDE PARK — Democratic challenger Thomas E. Connors defeated Republican Councilman Jim Jablonski in the race for mayor Tuesday night. Democratic newcomers Mary Wierzbowski, 72, and Frank McHugh, 50, won three-year seats on the Borough Council against Republican incumbent David Meyer, 55, and Republican newcomer Terrence Farley, 64.” (Michels, Asbury Park Press)
IN A FORMER WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
“ROBBINSVILLE: New Jersey has one less place known as Washington Township.
Voters in the one in Mercer County voted Tuesday to call their town Robbinsville.” (AP)
IN HARMONY AND OXFORD
“After entering the race late, a pair of issue-oriented newcomers defied expectations Tuesday by ousting two incumbents with write-in campaigns.
In Harmony Township, Rick Cornely beat Committeeman Robert Hill, while in Oxford Township, Bill Bray beat Mayor Alex Lazorisak, according to unofficial election results.” (Satullo, Express-Times)
“Karen Cisco has a problem in winning a Borough Council seat. It's not that she's a Democrat joining the formerly all-Republican governing body.
The problem is that Borough Hall is not accessible to the physically challenged, and Cisco has family members in wheelchairs who'd like to see her sworn in.
"It's just sad that in this day and age there's no provision for the disabled," Cisco said Wednesday of the multi-level municipal building, which has lots of stairs but no elevator or ramp.
"That was one of the reasons I ran," added Cisco, a First Aid Squad member and executive director of Passaic County's Camp Hope programs.” (Barry, Bergen Record)
IN WEST MILFORD
“WEST MILFORD — Voters didn't choose along party lines in Tuesday's local election. Nor did they send back both incumbents.
But they did elect two women with deep volunteer ties to the community.
In a town that looks destined to remain as is — thanks to the Highlands Act's development prohibition — residents apparently turned to those who have a strong sense of the community to lead it.” (Williams, Bergen Record)
IN MIDLAND PARK
“MIDLAND PARK — Incoming Mayor Joseph Monahan is crediting his victory partly to a Web site, after a campaign that challenged borough leaders' communication skills.
Monahan, an independent and virtually unknown candidate in this Republican town, ran much of his campaign on a Google homepage and blog where he laid out his talking points and responded to voter concerns.” (Akin, Bergen Record)
IN SOMERSET COUNTY
“Somerset County election officials will open provisional ballots today, a process that could reverse the outcomes of races for council seats in Bernardsville and Bound Brook.
The margins of victory for candidates in the two boroughs range from 2 to 6 votes.” (Bugman, Star-Ledger)