Morning News Digest: Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The rise of a political novice

In the frenzy of their party's national convention in Minnesota in September, New Jersey Republicans had only a few must-attend events on their calendar. John McCain's formal acceptance of the presidential nomination was one. Sarah Palin's star-making speech was another. And there was a Mississippi River cruise with John Crowley. (Claire Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

Will Ferriero indictment affect Shulman's bid to unseat Garrett?

There's no question that 5th District congressional candidate Dennis Shulman is benefiting from a national environment that favors Democrats. But in his native Bergen County, which holds about 65% of the district's voters, he's faced with what could be a less hospitable environment for his party. (

Leaders of Newark call a foul over snubs

Newark Mayor Cory Booker has spent much of the last year touting the city's dramatic reduction in homicides and plugging the state's largest city as a viable destination for businesses priced out of New York City. (Jeffrey C. Mays, The Star-Ledger)

PACs continue to push cash at Lautenberg-Zimmer race

It's a far cry from New Jersey's costly and bitter U.S. Senate races of the past, but the relatively low-key campaign between U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and his Republican challenger, former congressman Dick Zimmer, is still attracting a flow of cash from special interest groups. (Claire Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

Bloomberg endorses Shulman

Basing his endorsement mainly on gun control issues, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Dennis Shulman for Congress against U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in the 5th Congressional District. (

Lautenberg brushes off claim that he's too old

Frank Lautenberg, the 84-year-old Democrat from Cliffside Park, is trying to do something no one has ever done in New Jersey: win a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. (John Reitmeyer, The Bergen Record)

Dems admit they wrote 'MAC' memo

TRENTON — A document connecting the $128 million so-called MAC account with other legislative grant programs didn't come from current state Treasurer David Rousseau, even though it bears his name in the tiny print at the lower right corner. (Gannett)

Montclair State newspaper apologizes for comic strip

Editors of the student newspaper at Montclair State University issued a campus-wide apology today for running a comic strip that referred to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama with a racial slur. (Mark Mueller, The Star-Ledger)

UMDNJ subpoenaed over alleged overbilling

NEWARK — The troubled University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has come under more scrutiny following a report that school officials were served with federal subpoenas related to overbilling. (Associated Press)

Corzine: Good schools keep kids out of trouble

EATONTOWN — It costs up to five times more per year to incarcerate someone as it does to educate them, Gov. Corzine told hundreds of school professionals and community providers from across the state at a conference here Tuesday. (Gannett)

Election Day more an off day

Logan Township students and teachers will spend Election Day at home this year after several teachers requested the legal holiday in the midst of contract negotiations. (Jessica Driscoll, Gloucester County Times)

Registered Dems gain on GOP in Somerset County

For the first time in modern history, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the traditional GOP stronghold of Somerset County, according to election officials. (Bev McCarron, The Star-Ledger)

Business administrator leaves as Trenton faces shortfall

TRENTON — At a time when Trenton is facing its most severe budget crisis in decades, the city's top administrator is resigning her post to take a similar job in Perth Amboy. (Andrew Kitchenman, Trenton Times)

23 percent more use absentee ballots than expected

County clerks across New Jersey reported at least 23 percent more voters are expected to use absentee ballots in this presidential election compared to the 2004 race, in the latest indicator Tuesday's contest will attract a record number of voters. (Diane C. Walsh, The Star-Ledger)

Camden to cut 31 jobs, reduce services

Thirty-one Camden City positions would be eliminated, and residents would see reductions in a range of services, from garbage removal to demolition of abandoned houses, under a budget proposed to City Council last night. (Matt Katz, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Santiago preseveres in rugged City Council race

PASSAIC – Senior lab tech and family man Luis Santiago figures the fact that he’s been married for 36 years and gone to work at the same company for as long, while striving always to be an honorable citizen and taxpayer, ought to count for something in the City Council election. (

Menendez campaigns for Atlantic County Democrats

Menendez isn't running this year, but he was at Atlantic County Democratic headquarters on a cold, windy and wet Tuesday afternoon to tout the virtues of the party's candidates for Atlantic County sheriff and the Board of Chosen Freeholders. (Press of Atlantic City)

State plans to borrow $1.6B for transportation upgrades

New Jersey yesterday prepared to take a plunge into the turbulent market for public debt, approving plans to borrow up to $1.6 billion for transportation improvements next month. (Dunstan McNichol, The Star-Ledger)

Barse, Romano go on the offensive

VINELAND — A former two-term mayor is now responding to charges of "incompetence" made by the current administration about his time at CityHall,and iscalling attention todecisions and changes new city officialshave made over the past four months. (Kristi Funderburk, The Daily Journal)

Silly attack ads target 2 Bayonne mayoral candidates

If Bayonne residents watched only YouTube and MySpace they would have the impression that one of the main candidates for mayor is a ventriloquist's dummy controlled by former Bayonne mayor Joseph V. Doria Jr. and another spends most of his weekends away from the Peninsula City. (Tom Shortell, The Jersey Journal)

Cumberland County surrogates race: Hopefuls argue over salaries

No county elected office offers as little traction for issues as the Surrogate's Office normally does. But at election time, which is every five years, political parties do their best. (Joseph P. Smith, The Daily Journal)

Devlin readies for high impact election

Wall Township Mayor John Devlin would just as soon not have to brave the wildcard impact of a national race. A Democrat in a Republican town – the first Democratic mayor, in fact, in town history, he says voters know him locally as a nonpartisan elected official. (

Dems bring diversity to county vote

Cumberland County Democrats are hoping for a clean sweep on Election Day with a diverse slate of freeholder candidates. Bill Whelan, who until just recently was president of the Cumberland Regional school board, is the only white male of the bunch. (Matt Dunn, Bridgeton News)

  Morning News Digest: Wednesday, October 29, 2008