The Morning Digest: Monday, October 27, 2008

Lautenberg, Zimmer are opposites on tax relief for Americans

Like Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would end tax breaks enacted by President Bush for high-income earners. The GOP challenger for that Senate seat, former Congressman Dick Zimmer, would make those tax cuts permanent. (Robert Schwaneberg, The Star-Ledger)

With one full week left, 3rd and 7th House races still biggest flashpoints

To the most hardened observer of New Jersey politics, the 3rd Congressional District race offers little more than the inevitable collision of two powerful forces in this conservative, military family values stronghold, which runs upto the edges of Democratic Partybulwark Camden County to the south. (

Prison can’t keep Sharpe James out of Newark politics

Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James reported to a prison camp in Petersburg, Va., on Sept. 15 to begin serving a 27-month sentence on federal corruption charges. (Jeffrey C. Mays, The Star-Ledger)

Assembly pushes economic agenda

With the stock market continuing to tumble and tens of thousands of New Jerseyans’ jobs dependent on the financial sector, the state Assembly will continue its push Monday to help residents and businesses emerge from the crisis as strong as possible. (Associated Press)

Whose vision works for state: Voters, or business?

More than ever, the key issue in this year’s presidential election is “the economy, stupid,” and it finds the candidates poles apart. (Hugh R. Morley, The Bergen Record)

State GOP not giving up on McCain just yet

With voter registration favoring Democrats and polls predicting a blowout victory for Barack Obama in New Jersey, it would be understandable if the state’s Democratic machine were shut down and Republicans were switching the conversation to: “How ’bout those Phillies?” (Cynthia Burton, Philadelphia Inquirer)

In long-shot quest, Zimmer can’t count on the media

Even if the New Jersey print media industry was thriving, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer would still probably be a long-shot in his quest for incumbent Frank Lautenberg’s U.S. Senate seat. (

Absentee ballots gain in popularity in N.J.

It’s still illegal to vote often, but New Jersey is doing all it can to make it easier to vote early.This year’s presidential election marks the first time voters don’t have to give a reason — such as illness or travel — when they apply for an absentee ballot. (Associated Press)

Senate hopefuls offer voters unique platforms

Dissatisfied voters who threaten to desert major political parties in favor of independent candidates have a handful to pick from in the U.S. Senate race pitting incumbent Democrat Frank Lautenberg against Republican challenger Dick Zimmer. (Joyce J. Persico, Trenton Times)

Bergen Dems try to fend off GOP

Bergen County Democrats have dominated the Board of Freeholders for the past two years, and three incumbents are hoping to continue that monopoly with the upcoming election. (Michael Gartland, The Bergen Record)

State could step in to buy towns’ bonds

TRENTON — Local governments having a tough time finding investors for their municipal bonds and short-term notes because of fear in the financial market might soon be getting help from the state. (Gannett)

Energy issue has less fuel, but lingers

This summer, when gas cost $3.99 a gallon in South Jersey, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., received more phone calls about the energy crisis than any other issue. (Jessica Coomes, Gloucester County Times)

Corzine names DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson his new Chief of Staff

The state’s top environmental protection official will become Gov. Jon Corzine’s chief of staff on Dec. 1, the governor announced today. (The Star-Ledger)

Bateman pegs race on criticism of Washington

Congressional Republican candidate Alan Bateman has placed broad criticism of Washington politics at the center of his campaign to unseat popular 12th District Democrat Rush Holt. (Robert Stern, Trenton Times)

Housing authority replaces chair with a young lobbyist

A 24-year-old whiz kid has been named to the board of the Jersey City Housing Authority, replacing a chairwoman who was popular with some residents but clashed with the agency’s director. (Paul Koepp, Jersey Journal)

Healy, Manzo lawyers spar in removal case

FREEHOLD – The lawsuit brought by former Assemblyman Lou Manzo seeking to remove Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy from office should be thrown out, lawyers for Healy and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office argued in court yesterday. (Paul Koepp, Jersey Journal)

Going all out in Monmouth County

In Monmouth County, every town comes intriguingly into play on some level, several more critically than others. Republicans have owned the Freeholder Board for over 20 years, but in the last two elections Democrats picked up two seats to bring them to within one of county control. (PolitickerNJ)

N.J. residents strain to pay for college

Someday, when college tuition for his son is safely paid, Bob Bruno may look back on this financially frightening period in his life and smile. But not yet. He’s shy about smiling until he can afford a $3,000 implant to repair a broken front tooth. And he won’t spend that kind of money on himself until his son, Jake, is ensconced in college. (Gannett)

County GOP still short of $100K target

The Republican Party in Gloucester County has not yet met its lofty goal of raising $100,000 for the 2008 freeholder campaign. (Pete McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)

Diversity of concerns

PASSAIC — Corruption, gangs and taxes were high on the list of complaints from city residents ahead of next month’s special election, made necessary because the mayor and a councilman lost their positions after taking bribes. (The Herald News)

Democrats dominate the rolls of new voters in Morris

Colette Chapman is a new Democrat, like 1,851 other people who live in Morris Township.She also happens to be running for a seat on the township committee in an election generating an unusual amount of interest. Republicans have employed advertisements connecting Chapman to Democratic relatives such as cousin Joseph Cryan, chairman of the state party committee, and brother John Cryan, a Morristown councilman. (Abbott Koloff, The Daily Record)

Turning garbage into energy

KEARNY, N.J. – Standing atop the 400-acre 1-E landfill, you get a panoramic view of the Meadowlands sports complex to the north and the New York City skyline to the east. You’re also standing on a critical part of New Jersey’s, and the nation’s, energy future. (Associated Press)

Atlantic Democrats hope to regain losses

Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Patrick D’Arcy, who succeeded Ronald Ruff as county chairman in June, seems to have inherited the helm of the party during at a fortunate time. (

Fairfield: Two run for seat

FAIRFIELD TWP. – There are two candidates competing for one seat on the township committee, left by retiring Committeeman Craig Thomas. On Nov. 4, voters will choose between residents Ben Byrd or John Bennett for a three-year term in the municipal government. (Jason LaDay, Bridgeton News)

The Morning Digest: Monday, October 27, 2008