Morning News Digest: September 3, 2009

Democrats nominate former South Amboy Councilman Craig Coughlin to seek Assembly seat

Craig Coughlin, a former South Amboy councilman and a Woodbridge Township attorney, was tapped tonight to be the Democratic nominee for the 19th District Assembly seat representing Middlesex County. (Haydon, The Star-Ledger)

South Jersey Democrats may challenge N.J. senate president in effort to preserve statewide clout

Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts' announcement today that he will not seek re-election set in motion an immediate leadership battle in both houses of the Legislature as top Democrats began jockeying to seize the levers of power. (Heininger and Megerian, The Star-Ledger)

Former UMDNJ dean convicted of bribery reports to federal prison next week

R. Michael Gallagher, the former dean of the state's medical school who was convicted last year for his role in a bribery scheme, will begin serving an 18-month sentence next week at a federal prison camp in northern Florida. (Graber, The Star-Ledger)

Three N.J. lawmakers eye Assembly speaker post

Democratic lawmakers are already jockeying to replace Joseph Roberts as Assembly speaker, just hours after the Camden County politician announced he would not seek reelection this fall. (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)

Ridgefield administrator resigns, citing workload

Borough Administrator John Baldino will step down next Wednesday from the post he accepted just two months ago, citing the long hours required for the position. (Van Dusen, The Record)

Bergenfield moves on housing plan

The Borough Council hired a planning consultant Tuesday night to draw up an affordable-housing plan that complies with state laws. (The Record)

Speaker Roberts leaving N.J. Assembly in January Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., South Jersey's most influential sitting lawmaker, said yesterday he will not seek reelection this fall, signaling the end of his 22-year Assembly career. (Tamari, The Inquirer)

Roberts: N.J. should relinquish some Camden control

The state should reevaluate its role in Camden, Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. said yesterday, suggesting that local officials be given more control over city affairs. (Lu, The Inquirer)

Succession battle begins for New Jersey Assembly speaker seat

Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts' announcement on Wednesday that he will not seek re-election set in motion an immediate leadership battle in both houses of the Legislature as top Democrats began jockeying to seize the levers of power. (Heininger, The Gloucester County Times)

Camden prison demolition has plenty of bids

More than 20 companies with experience in blowing stuff up and bringing buildings down have thrown their hats in the ring to be involved in the demolition of Riverfront State Prison. (Murray, The Gloucester County Times)

Atlantic City activist plans Labor Day rally on firehouse sex allegations

A local activist arrested last year during a rally on Labor Day is apparently planning to make protests an annual event. (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)

Harrah's, Trump Entertainment, Tropicana offer three-year pay freeze

Three casino owners proposed wage freezes for three years and reduced health care payments for workers in the resort's largest casino union during the opening round of contract talks Wednesday, the union said. (Ortiz, Press of Atlantic City)

N.J. jail guard kills self during lunch

Corrections officers at a jail in New Jersey will undergo a debriefing after one of their own killed himself during lunch. (AP)

Appeals court reverses Monmouth jail officer's firing

The firing of a Monmouth County Jail corrections officer after an allegedly flunked July 2004 random drug test has been reversed by an appeals court, with a three-judge panel faulting government lawyers for coming to court with a weak case. (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)

Supporters of health-insurance reform rally in Highland Park

Highland Park resident Lori Freedman worries about being able to pay the monthly health insurance bill for her daughter on time. (Aloor Amuthan, Courier News)

Democrats tap Woodbridge's Coughlin to seek state Assembly seat

Craig J. Coughlin of Woodbridge was the overwhelming choice of Democratic Party committee members in the 19th District who met Wednesday to select a candidate for the state Assembly. (Malwitz, Courier News)

Overhead wire damage stalling NJ Transit riders –

NJ Transit rail riders are facing troubles on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line this morning. (AP)

McCormac prevails with Coughlin – Diaz for now withholds support of LD 19 Dem ticket

When the doors of the Forge flung open, the two groups went in separate directions: the mostly Puerto Rican contingent from Perth Amboy headed drearily back to the bay town, while Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, South Amboy Mayor John O'Leary, Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman and their man for the 19th District, Craig Coughlin, headed straight for the Shannon Rose Pub and a raucous celebration. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: September 3, 2009