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Conviction’s just the beginning
For Sharpe James, the verdict isn't the end of the line.

Instead, his conviction Wednesday on corruption charges launches a second phase that could do almost as much to shape the future of the former Newark mayor as the six-week trial that just ended.

Here's what stands between James and his scheduled July 29 sentencing: new legal motions, an investigation by probation officials, sentencing memos from prosecutors and defenders, testimonials from supporters, courtroom arguments.

And, of course, second-guessing about the trial and verdict. (John P. Martin and Jeff Whelan, Star-Ledger)

Zimmer vows to trim the fat
Former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate yesterday, becoming the third person to receive the backing of the Republican Party establishment.

The first two – millionaires Anne Evans Estabrook and Andy Unanue – dropped out of the race.

At a Statehouse news conference, Zimmer promised to cut pork-barrel spending and taxes and to bolster the state's economy. (Cynthia Burton, The Inquirer)

Andrews sues for openness
Rob Andrews wants to render Frank Lautenberg’s county line advantage obsolete.

Andrews announced today that he’s filing suit against 13 mostly northern county clerks to seek a “fair and open Democratic primary” that requires county clerks give “fair and equal” ballot position to both U.S. Senate candidates at the State Superior Court. The challenge was first reported on the liberal Web site Blue Jersey.

While Andrews has the county line in seven southern counties, Lautenberg has the line in the 12 other counties that award it — a big advantage in a primary with an expected low turnout. (Matt Friedman,

Cresitello hits 1,000
MORRISTOWN — Mayor Donald Cresitello will remain in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

The 1,000th signature needed for him to qualify was validated just before 3 p.m. Thursday. The challenge to his candidacy by Metuchen lawyer John F. Kwasnik was withdrawn by A. Lawrence Mazzacca, the attorney representing Kwasnik during the signature verification sessions. (Minhaj Hassan, The Daily Record)

Something’s missing in New Jersey public servants
WHO TOOK the public policy out of public service? Consider the past weeks in New Jersey:

A non-Jersey resident decides to run in the New Jersey Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. He doesn't leave Colorado to announce his candidacy in New Jersey. His primary talents, aside from partying, appear to have been an affinity for the Rocky Mountains and personal wealth.

His positions on immigration, the Iraq war and the subprime mortgage crisis remain unknown. In the ensuing controversy over a non-Jersey candidate, other candidates were suggested. Their positions on immigration, the Iraq war and the subprime mortgage crisis also were largely unknown.

The potential candidates were commodities to be traded like pork bellies. Eventually, a former congressman was recruited. (Alfred P. Doblin, The Record)

Corzine hates reruns
With haggling over his proposed budget cuts in full swing, Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he hopes to avoid a repeat of the historic feud that shuttered state government two years ago.

"I don't think that's going to be necessary. We all understand what a distraction and actually the harm that shutting down government brings to the public and the economic impact," he said. "We already are in a recession. We don't need to aggravate that." (Claire Heininger and Tom Hester, Star-Ledger)

Vineland mayor candidates hold fire
VINELAND — The city's three mayoral candidates sat elbow-to-elbow Thursday in their first joint public dialogue of the race.

The sponsoring Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce strove for a short, civil format. It largely succeeded with a list of six questions from members, tight time limits and candidate cooperation.

Still, evidence of hard feelings surfaced immediately between candidate Robert Romano and Mayor Perry Barse.

Nick Girone, who is also running in the May 13 election, kept to a low-key style even when being critical. (Joseph P. Smith, The Daily Journal)

Delle Donna objects
NEWARK – Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna was at times angry – but always confident – yesterday afternoon on the witness stand when he testified in his own defense in federal court.

"I have never accepted an envelope with cash as a donation from Javier (Inclan) or anyone else," Delle Donna testified, countering testimony by the former Guttenberg councilman and county clerk who is now a deputy chief of staff for Gov. Jon Corzine. (Michelangelo Conte, Jersey Journal)

Sabrin slate gets the boot in Bergen
A Bergen County judge today invalidated the petition signatures of an alternate slate of Republican freeholder candidates in Bergen County that included Senate candidate Murray Sabrin's wife.

The judge ruled that candidates Florence Sabrin and Paul Mladjenovic only had 94 valid signatures – six short of the 100 needed to get on the ballot. The two were running on a slate headed by Murray Sabrin, under the slogan “Constitutional Republicans Protecting the Liberty.”

Sabrin had pledged to run alternate slates of candidates in most counties. (Friedman,

His work here is done
BRADLEY BEACH — Mayor Stephen G. Schueler has been busy these past 16 years.

Aside from his law practice, Schueler has shepherded the borough through a period that saw major renovations to the beachfront and Main Street.

Along the way, he has earned praise from those who like what he's done and criticism from those who question some of the ways he did them.

But all agree that he did get results.

Schueler decided against running for his fifth consecutive term as mayor, so come July 1 there will be a new face in the dais' center seat. (Bill Bowman, Asbury Park Press)

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