Morning News Digest: Friday, October 31, 2008

Bryant defense plans to wrap up after last 3 witnesses

The defense in the corruption trial of former state Sen. Wayne Bryant could wrap up Monday, the Camden Democrat's attorney told a federal judge in Trenton yesterday, after presenting three witnesses designed to show there was nothing unusual about the actions prosecutors contend is fraud. (Dunstan McNichol, The Star-Ledger)

Job for Bryant 'not a big deal'

TRENTON – George Hampton said he didn't think it was a big deal when he set up a meeting to talk about former State Sen. Wayne Bryant going to work for the School of Osteopathic Medicine. (Troy Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Poll: Lautenberg has 20-point lead over Zimmer

Democrat Frank Lautenberg has a 52%-32% lead in his bid for a fifth term in the U.S. Senate, and 72% of voters haven't heard of his Republican opponent, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, according to a poll released this morning by Fairleigh Dickinson University. (

Doblin: It's called Election Day, not Election Month

I voted by absentee ballot once. It was my first election. I was going to be in Europe and I was not going to miss voting for president. It was 1976. (Alfred Doblin, The Bergen Record)

Lautenberg, Zimmer differ on immigration

TRENTON — Stark differences on immigration policy between the two primary U.S. Senate candidates in New Jersey were evidenced early in Wednesday's radio debate. (Gannett)

Obama widens N.J. lead vs. McCain, poll finds

Democrat Barack Obama leads John McCain in the race for the White House 54 percent to 38 percent in the poll, up from a 50-41 margin in a poll taken in September, according to a report in the Record. (The Star-Ledger)

White House "asset deployment" helped Jersey rep politically, committee alleges

Rep. Scott Garrett benefited from a White House effort to have top administration officials appear around the country, usually at taxpayer expense, with favored Republican candidates before the 2006 election, a House committee report says. (Herb Jackson, The Bergen Record)

Environmental trust sells $128M in project bonds

The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust yesterday sold $128.4 million in bonds to help finance 67 drinking water, sewer and storm drain improvement projects. (Tom Hester, The Star-Ledger)

Some residents find they're not on voter list

Andrew Alexander had an unpleasant surprise when he stopped by the office of the Mercer County superintendent of elections this week. (Meir Rinde, Trenton Times)

Stile: Stand out and become bigger target

Bogota's Paul Duggan was born in Ireland, but he's been getting a baptism-by-smear in Bergen County politics lately. Duggan is the most colorful of the three Republican candidates for freeholder next week, which makes him an easy mark for the edgy Bergen County Democratic Organization. (Charles Stile, Bergen Record)

Morin challenges right to host Clinton rally

Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin has challenged the right of congressional candidate Linda Stender to use Union County College’s facilities for her rally with former President Bill Clinton on Saturday, and further charged that the school was discriminating against Republicans. (

Van Hollen to visit Stender, Shulman tomorrow

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will be in two of New Jersey’s most competitive congressional districts tomorrow. Van Hollen will make an appearance with congressional candidate Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) in the morning, and move up to the 5th District to campaign with candidate Dennis Shulman in the afternoon. (

Candidates commence county blitz

VINELAND — Five days remain in Campaign '08 and candidates for Cumberland County offices don't plan to waste any of them. (Joseph P. Sith, Daily Journal)

Democrats have clear edge in Glouco

Democrats have gained a clear edge in Gloucester County after registering 22,000 new voters this year, and Republican candidates have dropped out of several local races. (Jan Hefler, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Newark still struggling to shed violent image

NEWARK — More than a year after the slayings of three college-bound friends led to sweeping anti-crime measures, Newark is still struggling to shed its image as a city where violence is out of control. (Associated Press)

Kids mock the vote

TRENTON – The presidential election may be days away for adults, but for an 8.4 million underage voters, the results are in. Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey children – from kindergartners to high school students – had the chance to make their choice for president and other top offices by taking part in the National Student/Parent Mock Election, coordinated by the New Jersey Press Foundation. (The Jersey Journal)

Jackson mayor vows to stay on the job three more months

JACKSON — Mayor Mark A. Seda said it could be as long as three months until he officially submits his resignation to the township clerk. (Keith Ruscitti, Asbury Park Press)

ATTENTION REPORTERS! is a sponsor of the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors’ upcoming Capitolbeat conference in Raleigh, N.C., and encourages journalists who cover state government to attend. For the first time, Capitolbeat is open to non-members. Citizen journalists, policy wonks, lawmakers, students and any other interested parties who want to know more about how state government works are encouraged to register. Attend all or part of the conference, set for Nov. 13-15 at the downtown Raleigh Marriott.

Capitolbeat has a limited amount of funds to provide a scholarship for journalists who wish to attend but cannot afford the cost. Priority is given to those working for smaller news organizations. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please indicate on the registration form and write an accompanying letter saying why you need the help.

Registration information and complete details on the conference can be found here: Morning News Digest: Friday, October 31, 2008