Wake-Up Call: Wednesday, May 28, 2008

With the PolitickerNJ.com Wake-Up Call e-mailed to your inbox, phone, Blackberry or PDA first thing in the morning, you can get a rundown of New Jersey's top political headlines. Sign up to get the Wake-Up Call delivered every morning.

Age remains front and center
In the middle of a two-hour discussion Tuesday about the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, 24-year incumbent Frank Lautenberg said of opponent Rob Andrews: "His idea of vigorous campaigning is to pound my age."

Yes, this is a race in which the issues include the war in Iraq, immigration, health care, energy and the economy.

But when candidates Lautenberg, Andrews, a Camden County congressman, and Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello gathered for a forum sponsored by the New Jersey newspapers in the Gannett chain, the fact that the incumbent is 84 continued as a key issue. In fact, the first question asked of the opponents was whether Lautenberg was too old to merit a new term — one that will keep him in Washington until he's 90. (Fred Snowflack, The Daily Record)

Closing ranks
It was a moment worthy of fanfare: the opening of a new district office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in New Jersey last month.

Federal prosecutors, law enforcement officials and members of Congress, including Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, assembled at the federal building in downtown Newark, a city plagued by gun violence.

But soon after Representative Robert E. Andrews arrived, an organizer took him aside, at the urging of Mr. Lautenberg’s assistants, and asked him to leave. He retreated, as his colleagues headed to the microphones. (Raymond Hernandez and Robert Pear, New York Times)

The age ad
PRODUCER Campaign Group

THE SCRIPT A narrator says: “1982. One of the lowest points in New Jersey political history. Frank Lautenberg bases his campaign against Millicent Fenwick on her age. She is 72. Using not-so-veiled language, Lautenberg actually says it’s O.K. for a man to make fun of a woman’s age. Now, Lautenberg will be 91 at the end of his term. 91. Newspapers have said it’s time for a change. It’s hard when your words come back to haunt you. Isn’t it, Mr. Lautenberg?” (Hernandez, New York Times)

Andrews takes Newark council
NEWARK – At-Large Councilman Luis Quintana plans to endorse U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews tomorrow.

That makes five out of nine Newark council people lining up with the South Jersey congressman in his primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg: Anibal Ramos in the North Ward, Augusto Amador in the East Ward, Dana Rone in the Central Ward, Oscar James II in the South Ward, and now Quintana. (Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

A one-candidate kind of guy
Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) joined Sen. Frank Lautenberg at a campaign stop in Union last night and called him "an incumbent who doesn't warrant challenge."

Biden said the choice for Democrats in next week's New Jersey primary is easy and that Lautenberg's experience will be needed on issues like the economy and the environment that will come before the next Senate. "As much as I love Rob Andrews, this is not even close for me," Biden said. (Mariam Jukaku and Robert Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)

Anyone out there listening?
When Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello talks about immigration, he draws the attention of an international audience.

But when he talks about other national issues — like the economy or the Iraq war — he no longer has their ear. (Robert E. Williams III, Star-Ledger)

Where they stand on immigration
Today's question: Should immigrants who are in this country illegally be thrown out? What if they have children who are citizens? (Herb Jackson, The Record)

Outside help for Kelly is against outsiders
TOMS RIVER — Jim Gilchrist, the controversial right-wing fighter against undocumented aliens, came to Toms River on Tuesday afternoon to endorse John P. "Jack" Kelly in the 3rd District race for Congress. (Alan Guenther, Asbury Park Press)

Intra-party squabbling in Burlco
Three slates of Republicans are running in Tuesday's primary for two nominations to seats on the Burlington County Board of Freeholders and for county clerk.

Party organizational disagreements resulted in one slate opposing the endorsed ticket of two incumbents. The U.S. Senate candidacy of GOP independent Murray Sabrin directly resulted in a third slate because he needed candidates for county offices in order to run in a separate column on the ballot. (Carol Comegno, Courier-Post)

Camden freeholder hopefuls a varied lot
On the Democratic side, there's a lawyer, a retired educator, an engineer and a sales representative. The Republican side features a computer network engineer, a teacher and a senior citizens group-home operator.

The seven primary election candidates for two Camden County freeholder seats come from varied backgrounds but have the same goals: lowering property taxes, cutting spending, and attracting new jobs and businesses. (Edward Colimore, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Hackett pleads guilty
NEWARK — A prominent New Jersey Democrat who had served simultaneously as the mayor of Orange and a state assemblyman pleaded guilty in Federal District Court on Tuesday to one count of attempted extortion, and in state court to another count of official misconduct.

The official, Mims Hackett Jr., 66, told United States District Court Judge Jose L. Linares that he accepted a $5,000 bribe in August from someone he thought was an insurance broker in exchange for using the power of his office to help the company obtain more work. (David W. Chen, New York Times)

Healy to fight the law. Again
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy will be back in court June 10 for the second appeal of his conviction last year for fighting with cops in Bradley Beach. (Ken Thorborne, Jersey Journal)

More subpoenas in Oury case
Officials from two more municipalities in Bergen County said today they received federal subpoenas seeking information on Dennis J. Oury, a politically connected lawyer and generous contributor to the county Democratic organization.

In all, seven municipalities, one school district and a county agency have been served with subpoenas relating to Oury since last Wednesday. (Michael Gartland and Oshrat Carmiel, The Record)

That’s half a million, thank you very much
Over half a million voters have registered as Democrats during the last six months, according to the Democratic State Committee. (Matt Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com)

Candidates on the march
The new political season in Bayonne started with the Memorial Day Parade, where City Hall hopefuls marched along with the bands, Brownies, and veterans.

The two people expected to run for mayor in November were prominent, sort of. (Political Insider, Jersey Journal)

The drive continues
MIDDLETOWN — Until Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin, R-Monmouth, receives a response to questions she has posed to Federal Emergency Management Agency officials about proposed new flood zone maps, she said she will continue her petition drives. (Terry Gauthier, Asbury Park Press)

A sad turn
On the streets of Camden yesterday, they tried to remember Sherron Rolax in other ways, as a father with a new job, finally trying to turn his life around.

Most New Jerseyans wouldn't know that Rolax. If they remembered him at all, it was for a moment one night in Camden a dozen years ago. (Rick Hepp and John P. Martin, Star-Ledger)

The price of fame
Dina Matos McGreevey's lone expert witness was subjected to a withering cross-examination yesterday that undermined his report and left the judge in the McGreevey divorce case hinting she doubted some of his conclusions.

In the end, Kalman Barson, a forensic accountant Matos McGreevey hired, was forced to acknowledge the conclusion to one of his reports — the one that said former Gov. James E. McGreevey's fame was worth $1.4 million — was based on his own hunches and assumptions provided to him by Matos McGreevey's attorney, not on any independent corroboration. (Judith Lucas and Brad Parks, Star-Ledger)

Payment withheld
Under threat of a court injunction, the Keansburg school board last night voted to temporarily withhold payments on a $740,000 severance package awarded to their retiring superintendent.

Board President William Manoes said officials will seek a compromise among the district, state officials who have been critical of the deal, and Superintendent Barbara Trzeszkowski. (Mark Mueller and Claire Heininger, Star-Ledger)

River Edge council candidate drops out
RIVER EDGE — Jeanie Marri, said she is withdrawing from the Democratic primary race for Borough Council for personal reasons. (Ashley Kindergan, The Record)

Guttenberg’s new mayor
GUTTENBERG – The City Council last night chose a 74-year-old disabled Korean War veteran to be the city's new mayor. The appointment comes a month after disgraced former Mayor David Delle Donna resigned following his conviction of federal corruption charges. (Charles Hack, Jersey Journal)

With the PolitickerNJ.com Wake-Up Call e-mailed to your inbox, phone, Blackberry or PDA first thing in the morning, you can get a rundown of New Jersey's top political headlines. Sign up to get the Wake-Up Call delivered every morning. Wake-Up Call: Wednesday, May 28, 2008