Wake-Up Call: Thursday, June 12, 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.

Seeing red?
When Dick Zimmer last ran for U.S. Senate in 1996, he was on the ballot with Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, who lost New Jersey by 18 points. Zimmer was defeated by 10 points.

This year, Zimmer will be on the ticket with John McCain; they are scheduled to campaign together tomorrow. It is a combination that Republicans hope spells victory in a predominantly Democratic state that has elected U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) four times. (Robert Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)

Frustration sets in
Democratic Party insurgent Paul Eisenman grumbled as he stood 10 feet Tuesday night from his arch-nemesis, Bergen County Democratic Organization leader Joe Ferriero. (Charles Stile, The Record)

Et tu, Lou?
It’s a hot topic in Republican political and fundraising circles: CNN’s Lou Dobbs is thinking of running for governor of New Jersey.

Several well-connected Republicans say they’ve heard the buzz that Dobbs, famous for his sharp commentary about Washington policies and politics, may be turning his sights on Trenton and has inquired about the steps necessary to start a campaign. (Josh Margolin, Star-Ledger)

If it walks and talks, it probably is
The deal seemed like a winner.

But this is New Jersey, the great mixing bowl of politics and private developers. Pay attention to the details. (Mike Kelly, The Record)

Settling scores in Atlantic City
ATLANTIC CITY – City Council voted no confidence in the resort’s business administrator Wednesday night before an empty seat where the administration’s top employee normally sits.

Council dealt the censure to Business Administrator Carol Fredericks amid continued arguments over the hiring of a new director of the Revenue and Finance Department. (Michael Clark, Atlantic City)

Hail to the king
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is a North Jersey congressman, but he’s got visitors from all over the state vying for his attention. (Lisa Grzyboski, Courier-Post)

The defense man
TRENTON — U.S. Rep. William J. Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., regularly visits the Passaic County offices of BAE Systems, an international global defense company. (Gregory J. Volpe, Gannett)

Jackpot!
Of the 15 federal lawmakers representing New Jersey, Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez brought home the most earmark money in fiscal year 2008, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group. (Grzyboski and Adam Smeltz, Courier-Post)

Smith hacked?
WASHINGTON — A New Jersey congressman said yesterday he is one of at least three lawmakers whose computers have been hacked from China, apparently in search of information about political dissidents and human-rights legislation. (Robert Cohen, Star-Ledger)

We’re all friends here
Following her loss to state Sen. Leonard Lance last week in the 7th Congressional District GOP primary, Kate Whitman reached out to the winner and offered her help. (Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

A difference of interpretation
Democratic State Chairman Joseph Cryan said that the Governor’s 38% approval rating in the Quinnipiac poll released today was “not unexpected.”

Corzine is undertaking some tough but necessary reforms in the state budget, Cryan said. (Matt Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com)

GOP gives utilities tax thumbs down
TRENTON – New Jersey Republicans yesterday criticized Democratic talk of extending a utility tax, as a top Democrat said an agreement has been reached on cutting benefits for newly hired government workers. The legislators are working to craft a new state budget by July 1. (Tom Hester, Jr., Associated Press)

Getting ready
Preparing for the November election, Democrats in Hunterdon and Somerset counties made leadership changes while Republicans stayed with their chairmen. (Joe Tyrrell, Star-Ledger)

Nothing they can do about it
State education officials, who are in court opposing portions of a Keansburg superintendent’s $740,000 retirement package, chose in January to stay out of a dispute over a retirement deal that promises Hoboken’s former superintendent almost $600,000 on his way out the door. (Dunstan McNichol, Star-Ledger)

No bang for his buck
VINELAND — Outgoing mayor Perry Barse outspent his opponents, and mayoral candidate Nick Girone got a lot of bang for his buck, according to recently released 20-day post-election reports. (Robert Press, The Daily Journal)

Is now really the time?
VINELAND — With the current administration in its last few weeks, City Council’s decision to pursue a pay raise for future administrations is being met with mixed reactions. (Press, The Daily Journal)

Paying to play
HAMILTON — A recently hired engineering consultant is in danger of losing a township contract due to a possible violation of local pay-to-play laws, causing Democrats to ramp up criticism of Mayor John Bencivengo for political contributions accepted both before and after his election. (Ryan Tracy, Trenton Times)

And that’s that
Former Newark deputy mayor Alfred Faiella has agreed to pay nearly $2 million to creditors and a court-appointed trustee who have been vigorously contesting his application for personal bankruptcy. (Ian T. Shearn, Star-Ledger)

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: Thursday, June 12, 2008