Today’s news from PolitickerNJ.com

Who’s trying to take out Cresitello?
Someone is trying to knock Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello off the ballot for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, but who? His rivals, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Rob Andrews (D-1st Dist.), both said through press aides it was not them.

Cresitello said last night he does not believe Metuchen lawyer John Kwasnik, who filed the challenge, is acting on his own. (Robert Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)

Conservative line forms behind Zimmer
Less than a week after entering the Republican U.S. Senate race, former Rep. Dick Zimmer has won the endorsement of half of the state’s GOP congressional delegation.

Representatives Frank LoBiondo, Jim Saxton and Mike Ferguson all announced their support for Zimmer today, citing his fiscal conservatism. (Matt Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com)

Opinion: Stark choice in Senate race
One thing the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey will not be this fall is Tweedledum and Tweedledee, to borrow a phrase from Ralph Nader.

Regardless of which candidates win the party primaries in June, voters will likely have a clear choice — between a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican — come November. Moderates will be sitting this one out.

The primary field was finally settled last week after a run-up to the filing deadline filled with surprising twists and turns. In the end, voters in both primaries will have choices, albeit narrow ones. (Asbury Park Press)

Dems say they’ll get Garrett this time. Really.
The question seems to come up every two years: is incumbent 5th District Rep. E. Scott Garrett vulnerable to a Democratic challenge?

This year is no exception.

Challengers during Garrett’s first three campaigns thought they had a good shot, but he managed to beat them by double-digit margins each time – even if those margins have narrowed each time.

But both of the Democrats vying to take him on say that this time is different, and both have released internal polls that they say proves it. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com)

Myers takes the cash lead
Chris Myers and Jack Kelly, Republican candidates in South Jersey’s highly competitive Third Congressional District race, each raised more than $300,000 in the last three months, according to reports filed yesterday.

Myers was a little ahead, raising $334,787 to Kelly’s $306,113. The two are seeking to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R., N.J.), whose district runs through much of Burlington and Ocean Counties and includes Cherry Hill in Camden County. (Cynthia Burton, The Inquirer)

Someone smells a conflict
Rep. Rob Andrews, busy with his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in the Democratic primary in June, found himself under attack from another quarter Tuesday.

Dale Glading, the Republican candidate for the congressional seat Andrews is vacating, accused the 10-term congressman of a conflict of interest for steering funds to the school that employs his wife. Andrews responded that he had submitted his request to a House committee, which ruled in April 2007 there was no conflict. (Richard Pearsall, Courier-Post)

Spending differences
Republican Senate candidates Joe Pennacchio and Murray Sabrin have raised roughly equal amounts of money, but Pennacchio has a much larger cash reserve (Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com)

Roberts wants credits, not rebates
In the first of a series of video segments issued exclusively to PolitickerNJ.com, Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts today, the tax filing deadline, outlined a plan for property tax relief to be provided through direct credits on income tax returns rather than rebates mailed during election season, calling them “gimmicks.” (PolitickerNJ.com)

Codey backs Hawkins in Orange
Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) today endorsed Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., for mayor in this city in search of a leader in the aftermath of Mims Hackett’s fall. (Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

Family health winnows Princeton race to two
The June 3 Democratic primary for township committee won’t be a three-way race because Casey Lambert has decided to drop out of the contest to help her husband, Sam Lambert, recover from a recent heart attack.

With Lambert bowing out of the election, the Democratic primary will be uncontested with just two candidates — incumbent Bernie Miller and newcomer Gabriela “Sue” Nemeth — seeking their party’s nomination for a pair of three-year terms to the committee in the November general election. (Trenton Times)

Cuts may get cut
Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Tuesday he expects to restore some of the $190 million in state aid to municipalities that he has proposed cutting as part of his austere budget for the next fiscal year.

In a meeting with the Courier-Post Editorial Board, the governor also said that it’s likely the state Department of Agriculture will be saved. (Richard Pearsall, Courier-Post)

Corzine’s the big breadwinner
Gov. Jon Corzine remains the champion earner among New Jersey’s top officials and candidates, reporting 2007 earnings of $11.8 million.

But Sen. Frank Lautenberg and some of those seeking to take his job aren’t doing too shabbily either. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) reported earning $3.4 million. Democrat Rob Andrews and Republicans Dick Zimmer and Murray Sabrin all reported six figure earnings. (Josh Margolin, Star-Ledger)

Toll plan’s early costs
New Jersey has spent $7.3 million on Gov. Corzine‘s stalled plan to increase highway tolls, and may soon spend more.

Treasurer David Rousseau told an Assembly Budget Committee yesterday that the money had gone toward legal fees and consultants who developed the proposal, which would boost tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike to pay state debt and fund transportation.

The report of $7.3 million in fees comes as Corzine seeks $2.7 billion in spending cuts next fiscal year to address state budget woes. By comparison, the administration wants to save $4.5 million by closing nine state parks. (Tom Hester, Jr. Associated Press)

And on the fifth day, they deliberated
Jurors in the corruption trial of former Newark mayor Sharpe James return to court this morning for their sixth day of deliberations after failing to reach a verdict yesterday.

The panel of six men and six women spent most of yesterday behind closed doors weighing the conspiracy and fraud charges against James and Tamika Riley, his co-defendant and onetime mistress. (Jeff Whelan and John P. Martin, Star-Ledger)

Life intrudes on Delle Donna trial
The corruption trial of Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna and his wife Anna was abruptly adjourned yesterday afternoon when one of the jurors learned that his father had died.

The delay in the trial is expected to be a short one as the juror said he would return this morning prepared to continue. District Court Judge Harold A. Ackerman thanked the juror for his commitment to the case. (Michelangelo Conte, Jersey Journal)

A conviction for Carneys Point
Bracing himself on the table before him, with a crowd of supporters filling the courtroom gallery behind, a former Carneys Point mayor was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for attempting to bribe a political opponent.

John “Mack” Lake, 52, was additionally barred for life from holding another public office. (Randall Clark, Gloucester County Times)

Today’s news from PolitickerNJ.com