Morning News Digest: Monday, December 22, 2008

Warren County Republicans change party rules on filling committee seats

About a month before they help pick a state senator at a convention, Warren County Republicans are looking to boost their ranks by changing the rules for filling vacant county committee seats. (Bill Wichert, The Express-Times)

N.J. trying to find solution on ballots

TRENTON – Now certain to miss a year-end deadline to have voting machines that produce a paper trail, state officials are mapping out alternate ways to fix New Jersey's voting system that could include replacing touch-screen machines with optical scanners. (Michael Symons, Ashbury Park Press)

Corzine: Economy a hurdle in 2009 re-election run

After three turbulent years in Trenton, Gov. Jon Corzine said his re-election year will be consumed by the dismal economy-and the billion-dollar state budget cuts the bad times could force him to make. (Claire Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

Despite crime woes, 80 percent approve of Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is viewed favorably by 80 percent of likely voters in the next city election, while 72 percent don't know the only other declared mayoral candidate, former Essex County prosecutor Clifford Minor, according to an internal poll for Booker's campaign obtained by The Star-Ledger. (Jeffrey C. Mays, The Star-Ledger)

In Plainfield, Mayor Robinson-Briggs will try to withstand Mapp's New Democrats

PLAINFIELD – Get it right in four years or you're gone. That's the message the voters consistently deliver in the Union County city of Plainfield, and looking at past results, most of their elected leaders get it wrong. (

An optimist is going to bat for future of Jersey

As business leaders at a recent Atlantic City convention waited for Gov. Jon Corzine to deliver a speech on how New Jersey can survive the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, a passer-by spotted Jerry Zaro, the state's new economic growth czar. (Claire Heininger, The Star-Ledger)

Obama's EPA nominee has roots deep in New Orleans

WASHINGTON-Even in grade school at St. Gabriel's Parish elementary school, Lisa Perez had this way about her. (Jonathan Tilove, The Times-Picayune)

McNerney blocked again from panel

Sen. Gerald Cardinale has scuttled Governor Corzine's second attempt to place Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney on a statewide panel to study the consolidation of towns and school districts. (Charles Stile,

Whelan calls casino proposal ‘grandstanding'

ATLANTIC CITY – A proposal to allow casinos to self-regulate as long as 60 days in the event of a state government shutdown is going nowhere, says state Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic. (Derek Harper, Press of Atlantic City)

L. Harvey Smith makes it official: he wants to be mayor of Jersey City

State Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, who served as acting mayor of Jersey City for several months after Mayor Glenn Cunningham died in office, announces his candidacy for the City Hall top spot in today's Jersey Journal Political Insider column. (The Jersey Journal)

Peter Frelinghuysen says Felt did the right thing, says Pelosi is a ‘poor excuse for a leader'

As a Republican Congressman who served out his final term during the Watergate scandal, Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen did not know Mark Felt, the FBI's number two man who turned out to be the famous "Deep Throat." (

Benefits Fund Solvency Worries Labor Officials

The sour economy and rising joblessness have New Jersey labor officials worried about depleting the state's unemployment fund. (Derek Henry, N.Y. Times)

Morning News Digest: Monday, December 22, 2008