Morning News Digest: October 12, 2009

Star-Ledger agreed not to endorse candidates before 10/16 gubernatorial debate

The Star-Ledger endorsement of independent Christopher Daggett could violate state regulations that prohibit debate sponsors from endorsing candidates before the completion of the debate. In their application to sponsor the October 16 gubernatorial debate, the Star-Ledger agreed to not endorse a candidate for Governor until after the debate was over. (Edge, PolitickerNJ)

Gov. Jon Corzine and Chris Christie skirt campaign-finance rules; Robert Menendez's corruption ommission; Sen. Nia Gill takes sides in Codey fight

Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie tout their support for strict campaign-finance rules and the restrictions imposed on donors who win or seek lucrative public contracts. What they don’t advertise is what they do to skirt the rules. The Star-Ledger revealed last week that donors who are limited or banned from contributing to gubernatorial hopefuls have been pouring money into the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association to benefit their candidates. (Star Ledger)

It’s official: the top two won’t cut property taxes

It was a fun week for the Star-Ledger editorial board. All three candidates for governor came in to be interviewed about their plans for the state. The bad news for you the taxpayer is that the top two, Jon Corzine and Chris Christie, made it clear they have no plans to address the issue most important to voters in this state: high suburban property taxes. (Mulshine, Star Ledger)

Why didn’t Mitt Romney get a Nobel?

He had the same knucklehead idea about health care as Barack Obama. And he got it passed and signed into law years earlier. (Mulshine, Star Ledger)

Christie was brazen, hands-on as federal prosecutor

Chris Christie listened as his top lieutenants debated the move. It was 2006, and as U.S. attorney he needed to decide whether to bring a third trial against Walter Forbes, former chairman of the travel and real estate firm Cendant Corp., for allegedly defrauding investors. (Ryan, Star Ledger)

Corzine opposes electronic gambling at race tracks

Gov. Jon Corzine says he can't imagine a scenario where he would approve putting video lottery terminals at New Jersey racetracks if re-elected. The governor was asked about the VLT's — electronic gambling games that simulate slot machines — while being interviewed Friday by the editorial board of The Press of Atlantic City newspaper. (AP)

In Bergen, Dem freeholders out-raise Republicans 3 to 1

In Bergen County, the two Democratic freeholders up for reelection have out-raised their Republican challengers by about three-to-one. Incumbents Julie O’Brien and Vernon Walton have raised $136,692 in their joint campaign account and finished up just short of $6,000 in the red (they donated much of the campaign account’s money to the Bergen County Democratic Organization, which has not yet filed). (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

McCarthy: no election in Washington Township keeps Republicans from being active

There might not be an election this fall in Washington Township, but that doesn’t mean the Republicans are sitting back and waiting for the new year. The township’s Republican Executive Committee is actively pursuing potential candidates.”It’s a really important race,” said municipal Chairman Jeff Morris. “Three seats are up, which means control for council is up.” (McCarthy, Newhouse)

Stile: Sarlo wants a say on realigning legislative districts

Democratic state Sen. Paul Sarlo is fighting to help make South Jersey's Stephen Sweeney the next Senate president, hoping that will land him a coveted seat on an 11-member panel that will redraw legislative districts. The panel of five Democrats, five Republicans and one court-appointed tiebreaker, will realign the state's 40 legislative districts in 2011. Partisans use the once-in-a-decade opportunity to bolster the chances for their party candidates and incumbents. (Stile, The Record)

3rd district Assembly GOP hopefuls clarify views

The two Republicans running for state Assembly in the 3rd Legislative District might be on the ballot together, but that's about as far as it goes. Lee Lucas of Gibbstown and Robert Villare of West Deptford won the June primary, but have not, and probably will not, campaign together as they gear up for the November General Election. In fact, they came in for separate interviews. (McCarthy, Newhouse)

Consumer protection concerns spur NJ bill

More help may be on the way for New Jersey consumers. Some lawmakers are pushing a bill that would allow consumers to file complaints with officials or in court even if they have waived that right in acquiring goods and services in the state. (Shipkowksi, Press of Atlantic City)

Independent candidate stirs up governor’s race in New Jersey

Christopher J. Daggett had the crowd at its feet. Well, it was a bar, there were not many seats, and the crowd was only about 50 people. But they were devoted Democrats in a bastion of New Jersey’s Democratic machine. And Mr. Daggett, the independent candidate for governor, was winning them over. (Halbfinger, NewYork Times)

Chris Daggett, ever the policy wonk, focuses on details

Late in his first term as president, Ronald Reagan asked Chris Daggett, a loyal Republican from the Kean administration, to join the Environmental Protection Agency as its regional administrator for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. (Nutt, Star Ledger)

Gov. Jon Corzine's confidence fuels rise to top of Wall Street, N.J. politics — sometimes, to a fault

Gov. Jon Corzine has never been burdened by self-doubt, second thoughts or a lack of confidence. It's what fueled his rise, associates say, to the pinnacle of Wall Street and then to the top spot in New Jersey politics. But those same associates say it's also at the heart of Corzine's difficulties in trying to win a second term. He is a leader who trusts his gut — yet seems to lack an instinct for self-preservation. (Heininger, Star Ledger)

NJ gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Corzine and Christie, get campaign funds from special interests

Gov. Jon Corzine’s biggest source of campaign cash is, as it always has been, himself. His Republican challenger Chris Christie — rich, but by no means as wealthy as the incumbent Democrat — has been depending more on friends and family to help fund his race. But that is not the whole story. (Sherman, Star Ledger)


How will history judge Corzine?

Gov. Corzine has spent more than $19 million in his re-election campaign. Of that amount, $15.6 million came out of his own pocket since June 30. And yet, he can't get past 40 percent in public opinion polls. He outspent Chris Christie 3-1. That's on top of $60 million for his U.S. Senate race and $43 million for the first run for governor. (Ingle, Gannett)

Will mayor’s arrest affect campaign?

Republican and Democratic council candidates give vastly different reports on whether voters they meet on the campaign trail still care about Mayor Anthony Suarez's July 23 arrest on corruption charges. (Van Dusen, The Record)

Protest planned against NJ school that sang Obama song

Conservative groups plan to rally Monday near a New Jersey school where students performed a song celebrating President Barack Obama. The planned rally has school district officials planning to beef up security at the B. Bernice Young School in Burlington Township, which houses kindergartners through second-graders. (AP)

Christie calls his plan digging out of a hole

Republican Chris Christie took a fresh look at reality Friday, and made big changes in his pitch to become governor. He says he will put plans for sweeping tax cuts and spending increases on hold until the economy begins to recover. And he is embracing most of the governor's plan to close the state's enormous budget gap. For next year, Christie held fast to only two major differences on the budget. (Moran, Newhouse)

Daggett evaluates the competition

Independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett says his two main rivals, Jon Corzine and Chris Christie, are running negative campaigns based on intellectual dishonesty. He told the Star-Ledger they both are indebted to special interests. (Ingle, Gannett)

Labor union back in Corzine’s corner

Gov. Jon S. Corzine has rekindled his romance with the state's unions. Despite off and on bickering through his first term, the ex-Wall Street titan was hailed last week as a savior of labor at an AFL-CIO convention in Atlantic City that featured Vice President Joe Biden. There were hugs, cheers and unity. (Method, APP)

Edison adopts 6-month transitional budget of $62.6 million

The Township Council has unanimously adopted a six-month transitional budget of $62.6 million, effective for the period from July through December. Township Chief Financial Officer Mark Acker had said earlier that the transitional budget will increase taxes by $25 for an average assessed home in the third quarter. The fourth-quarter tax bill will have no increase over the third quarter, he said. (Amuthan, Gannett) Morning News Digest: October 12, 2009