Today’s news from PolitickerNJ.com

He’ll raise you
I make it a policy never to bet more than a six-pack of beer on any political event. And I fully expect to win the six bottles that I have bet on the prospect that Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy will not make it to the floor of the Democratic convention this summer.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clinton doesn’t make it much further than this evening, when the results of the Pennsylvania primary come in. Hillary needs a landslide in Pennsylvania. It looks like she’s not going to get it.

That’s a shame for us Jersey voters. Hillary was our best hope for getting rid of Jon Corzine. It was widely thought among the governor’s fellow Democrats that he would figure prominently in a Clinton administration as the secretary of something important. (Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger)

The gang’s all here, united
The three Republicans competing to replace retiring Congressman Jim Saxton as the 3rd District’s representative appeared together for the first time yesterday at a candidates forum.

Each of the three GOP hopefuls — Medford Mayor Chris Myers, Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly and former Tabernacle Committeeman Justin Murphy — made their cases as to why they should be elected as the party’s nominee in the June 3 primary.

All three had similar takes on supporting U.S. troops and veterans, and all three called for greater U.S. energy independence and reforms to the nation’s tax laws. Myers and Kelly, the frontrunners in the race, chose to attack the presumptive Democratic nominee, state Sen. John Adler, D-6th of Cherry Hill, rather than criticize each other. (David Levinsky, Burlington County Times)

Get the name out there
Roland Straten knows he has an identity problem as the Republican challenger to Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.

“I have to get that name recognition,” said the 67-year-old Straten, the outgoing CEO of a Paterson fire protection company. “I could have the best ideas, but if nobody’s heard of me, I don’t stand a chance.”

Reaching voters could prove to be difficult as the presidential race galvanizes the Democrats who dominate most of the 21 communities that make up the 8th Congressional District in Passaic and Essex counties.

Add to that New Jersey’s spirited race for the U.S. Senate, which will make its own demands on voters’ attention.

Yet Straten, Pascrell’s seventh challenger since first elected to Congress, believes he can win. (Paul Brubaker, The Record)

Surprises in the Andrews’ taxes
TRENTON — Rep. Rob Andrews and his wife, Camille, who are running for U.S. Senate and House, respectively, in the June primary, earned $457,000 last year in combined income and got their medical coverage through Rutgers University despite having access to the congressional health plan, a spokesman said Monday.

Bill Caruso, a spokesman for the Haddon Heights Democrat, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in the primary, said the Andrews family received its health benefits through Rutgers from 1996 until recently.

“It was a better plan from Rutgers than it was from the House,” Caruso said. (Gregory J. Volpe, Gannett)

Staying with the church
David Evans has decided to drop his candidacy to succeed Rep. Rob Andrews.

Evans, a pastor from Sicklerville, was running for the Democratic nomination for the first district seat currently held by Andrews, who’s leaving that office to run for U.S. Senate. Andrews’s wife, Camille, is running in her husband’s stead as a placeholder candidate while South Jersey powerbrokers decide on a new candidate to put into the race. (Matt Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com)

Another probe into Atlantic City Hall
ATLANTIC CITY – Another criminal investigation is going on at City Hall.

Mayor Scott Evans confirmed yesterday the state Attorney General’s Office delivered four subpoenas to City Hall on Friday seeking municipal records from 2000 to 2007.

He would not say what specifically was sought.

“I can’t comment on it too much because of the ongoing criminal investigation,” he said. “But I have not been served with any subpoena, I can tell you that.”

Evans said his administration will comply fully with the subpoenas, at least one of which seeks information from as far back as 1995, he said.

“We are getting all the information they requested together, and we’ll get it all to them,” he said. “We are cooperating fully.”

Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said his office’s policy is not to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.

Several city officials said the probe involves how Atlantic City spent Community Development Block Grant funds, money that is parceled out for local development projects. (Wayne Parry, Associated Press)

Dots connected

NEWARK – Corruption, concealment and fraud were the themes of the day as the prosecution tried yesterday in its closing argument in the trial of Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna and his wife, Anna.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard E. Constable III laboriously went through the charges and recounted testimony to support each one, including the testimony of town bar owner Luisa Medrano. The courtroom was filled with dozens of Delle Donna supporters. (Michelangelo Conte, Jersey Journal)

Up the river she goes
BARNEGAT — Former Mayor Virginia R. Novrit was sentenced to three years in federal prison in Georgia last week for her role in a $5 million mortgage fraud scheme, law enforcement officials said Monday.

Novrit, 67, also was ordered to pay $839,585 in restitution. She was convicted with her boyfriend, Clarence Lorenzo Davis, 68. Both lived in Hilton Head, S.C., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.

Authorities say her criminal activity began two months after she resigned as Barnegat’s mayor, in November 2004. (Alan Guenther, Asbury Park Press)

A surprise guest
There wasn’t a long wait for a big moment at Monday night’s mayoral debate.

Robert Romano, one of two challengers to two-term incumbent Perry Barse, unexpectedly showed up for the debate, held at Cumberland County College and sponsored by The Daily Journal. The debate was moderated by the League of Women Voters.

Romano had rejected the initial offer to participate, questioning its value, and rejected follow-up offers. Romano said he decided over the weekend to attend. He said he had expected Barse and challenger Nick Girone to make an issue of his absence from the debate, attended by about 100 people and filmed for later public television broadcast.

Girone used one of his opportunities to question other candidates to ask Romano what happened.

“I think this was the best way for me to get my views across to the public,” Romano said. (Joseph P. Smith and Kristi Funderburk, The Daily Journal)

His money, his voice

Ted Mattox, the mayoral candidate whose Montclair slate is running under the slogan “Your Voice … Your Money … Our Future,” has emerged as the campaign’s big spender.

The at-large councilor’s “Thrive Montclair” slate has chalked up $21,868 in expenditures heading into the May 13 nonpartisan election, almost twice as much as the “Partnership Montclair” slate headed by Joyce Michaelson, an at-large councilor and deputy mayor.

“I think it reflects we’re serious about the campaign, and we’re going to do what it takes to win,” Mattox said.

The expenditures, revealed in pre-election filings with the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission, are the first real glimpse of the campaign war chests in a contest where money played a big role four years ago.

In 2004, the biggest spender, the “Leadership Montclair” slate headed by Edward Remsen, swept six of the seven seats on Montclair’s governing body in an election where 18 candidates spent at least $143,087 — or $21.67 for each of the 6,603 voters who went to the polls.

Though Mattox so far is outspending his competitors, it’s largely his own money, according to last week’s 29-day pre-election filing.

His war chest of $22,054 includes $15,637 out of his own pocket, according to the ELEC filing, and he spent $21,868, leaving him just $186 on hand at the end of the reporting period. (Philip Read, Star-Ledger)

The split widens
MANALAPAN — The rift between two factions of local Republicans is widening, with a social and support group for the party endorsing challengers to the municipal Republican county committee’s picks in the upcoming primary.

The Manalapan Republican Club voted last week to endorse Republican Club President Kalman “Butch” Budai and former club president Steven Johnson. They will run against the county committee-backed nominees, Ryan D. Green and William Garcia, in the June primary for two Township Committee seats.

Manalapan Republican Committee Chairman Stephen McEnery said the endorsement does little more than further split the party. He said he could not recall the club ever endorsing a candidate and said the endorsement was a bid for “free press.” (Alesha Williams Boyd, Asbury Park Press)

No smiles in Orange
ORANGE – There are no smiles cast across a cold ten feet of space where North Ward Councilwoman Tency Eason faces her rival At-Large Councilman Donald Page as the City Council considers giving Hands, Inc. a 20-year tax abatement to redevelop and occupy the old Berg Hat Factory in the valley.

The project was supposed to be completed in January, or a few months after Mayor Mims Hackett marched into federal court in handcuffs on a charge of taking a $5,000 bribe from a phony insurance contractor.

But the old building with broken windows still juts over the neighborhood and question marks abound about the status of that project and others meant to kick-start this city at the edge of gangland crisis, and now staggered by the Hackett scandal. (Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

One down in Washington Township
Freshman Democratic Councilman Bob Timmons has dropped out of the mayor’s race, officials said Monday.

Timmons, a barber, was elected in 2006 and decided to run solo for mayor after Paul Moriarty, who is an assemblyman representing the 4th Legislative District, announced he would not run for re-election as mayor. (Courier-Post)

Campaign signs lifted
Thieves stole about 20 mayoral campaign signs from homes on Forest Grove Road, North West Avenue and Garden Road on Sunday night or early Monday morning.

All of the signs supporting candidate Robert Romano were found on a lawn in the 2700 block of North West Avenue. None were damaged.

Romano, a Vineland police lieutenant, is running against incumbent Mayor Perry Barse and former school board president Nick Girone. The signs also listed Romano’s council slate.

The Barse campaign denied any involvement. (The Daily Journal)

Shouldn’t he know the law?
Denville Mayor Ted Hussa is due in municipal court Thursday morning on charges that he illegally parked in a handicapped spot at a church last month, authorities said yesterday.

South Orange resident Jeannemarie Ahrens signed a complaint against the mayor on April 11, court officials said yesterday. Ahrens said she learned of the incident from newspaper accounts after former Councilwoman Pat Valva publicly took the mayor to task for parking in a handicapped spot. (Paula Saha, Star-Ledger)

Today’s news from PolitickerNJ.com