Morning News Digest: September 30, 2009

Bothered by Sweeney challenge, Rice confident Codey will ultimately win

With a deepening sense of alarm, state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark) observes the leadership battle between his longtime ally state Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford). (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Codey says he’s the target of opposition researcher

Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) took the preemptive step today of announcing that he is the target of an opposition researcher. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

A stunning twist

Perhaps no one personally profited more from Joe Ferriero’s rise to power in Bergen County than Dennis J. Oury, the unapologetic defender of New Jersey’s political spoils system. (Stile, The Record)

Wisniewski drops bid for Speaker and endorses Oliver

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) has dropped out of the race for Assembly Speaker and endorsed Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange). (Editor, PolitickerNJ)

New Jersey has had some classic leadership fights over the years

Post-Election Day politics in New Jersey might feature as many as five contested races for Legislative leadership positions: Senate President, Assembly Speaker, Senate Majority Leader, Assembly Majority Leader, and Assembly Minority Leader. (Edge, PolitickerNJ)

Daggett proposes shift in tax structure

Independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett proposed a $4 billion shift in the state’s tax structure Tuesday he says would cut property taxes by up to 25 percent for most homeowners by starting to charge sales taxes on now-exempt services. (Symons, Gannett)

GOP flashpoint: DeCroce vs. Biondi

Not to be outdone by Democrats embroiled in a senate leadership battle, the lower-house Republican forces of Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) and caucus adversary Assemblyman Pete Biondi (R-Hillsborough) spilled their own brand of backdoor drama into the open this week. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Christie loves Springsteen but doesn’t expect Gov endorsement

Chris Christie, the Republican candidate for New Jersey governor, is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, including cherishing a 1999 chance meeting with the rock star on an airplane flight, according to a report in The New York Times. (Star-Ledger)

Senate President Codey accuses South Jersey power broker Norcross of underhanded campaign

As he wages the fight of his life to hold on to his Senate presidency, Richard Codey sees the work of his arch enemy everywhere. There is a website called CodeyComeClean that Codey believes is funded and created by fellow Democrat and South Jersey power broker George Norcross, with whom he has feuded for most his career. (Sherman, Star-Ledger)

Captain Sully returns to the skies

The Hero of the Hudson, U.S. Airways Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, is returning to the flight deck and also will join the airline’s operations safety management team. In order to fly again, Sullenberger had to re-qualify, which includes flying with a captain from the safety management team he is joining. (Ingle, Gannett)

Atlantic City renewing battle over casino smoking ban

A year after the nation’s second-largest gambling resort scrapped a plan to go totally smoke-free in its 11 casinos, the issue remains as hazy as the cigarette smoke over the blackjack tables. (Parry, AP)

Bergen Dem lawyer pleads guilty in contract fraud

A former Bergen County Democratic Party lawyer and adviser to several municipalities has pleaded guilty to corruption charges two days before his trial was set to begin. (AP)

Ads likely to surface at gov. debate

They won’t meet face-to-face until Thursday, but the televised debate between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie has already begun. (Heininger, Star-Ledger)

Morning News Digest: September 30, 2009