Morning News Digest: October 23, 2009

Christie calls Ferriero a ‘disgrace’ and Corzine an ‘enabler’

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie struck a familiar tone today, trumpeting the conviction of a political figure indicted when he was U.S. Attorney – in this case former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero. But the big difference between today’s press conference phone call and the seven years of pressers Christie held as the state’s top federal prosecutor was that he laid part of the blame for the state’s corrupt political culture on Gov. Jon Corzine. Christie said Corzine "enabled" Ferriero because Corzine gave Bergen County Democrats over $400,000 when Ferriero led the party. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Lonegan: Ferriero conviction is a reason to vote against open space bond issue

Former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan says that today’s conviction of former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero is another reason to defeat a $400 million open space bond issue up for voter approval in November.”This is just another example of how liberal big government programs like the open space scam are breeding grounds for political corruption,” Lonegan said. The referendum seeks authorization to issue bonds for Green Acres, water supply and floodplain protection, and for farmland and historic preservation projects. (Editor, PolitickerNJ)

Diaz ends long silence, backs Wisniewski and Coughlin in 19th District Assembly race

When herally lost his bid to be the replacement Assembly candidate in the 19th Legislative District, Mayor Wilda Diaz didn't immediately back the Democratic Party ticket consisting of Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) and Woodbridge attorney CraigCoughlin. Butaftermore thana month of silence, she finally decided to declare her public support for them. "I came to the conclusion a week ago to support the District 19 Democratic candidates," Diaz told "The county committee fight taught me a lesson, but it's politics. The good thing is I supported my candidate until the very end." (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Final New Jersey debate turns into free-for-all

The third and final debate in the tightening New Jersey governor’s race turned into something of a free-for-all on Thursday night as Gov. Jon S. Corzine tried to portray the state’s battered economy as poised for a slingshotlike recovery, while his Republican rival, Christopher J. Christie, depicted him as lamentably out of touch. But the two were constantly harassed by a pesky Christopher J. Daggett, the independent candidate, who pointed to a new poll that showed him within striking distance, and who taunted Mr. Corzine and Mr. Christie over property taxes, corruption and the environment. The hourlong debate, broadcast on the jazz station WBGO in Newark, broke little new ground, but allowed the three men to deliver their closing arguments. (Halbfinger, New York Times)

Candidates tussle over taxes

There were no laugh lines in the last debate before Election Day among the three main candidates for governor of New Jersey, but there was plenty of tussling over the nagging issues of property taxes and corruption. The debate, held at Newark jazz radio station WBGO and aired on public radio across the state, was light on improvisation. Instead, Republican Chris Christie, Democratic incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine and Independent Chris Daggett restated the cases they've been making for months. (Jersey Journal)

Stile: In the end, Ferriero has no role to play

Minutes after "The Chairman" was formally declared a felon, Joe Ferriero lowered his head and began scrolling e-mails and messages on his cellphone. The tool Ferriero used to build his political machine now seemed little more than a crutch to avoid the stunned and disappointed gaze of his lawyers and a small group of family and allies in the dreary Newark courtroom. No badgering of donors. No more e-mails detailing get-out-the-vote instructions. No more calls to the governor's office. Ferriero, who boasted on his Web site that he organized boyhood gun wars in the woods of his hometown of Dumont, was no longer a player on the New Jersey political landscape — which may be a fate more painful for Ferriero than Thursday's conviction on conspiracy and mail-fraud charges. (Stile, The Record)

NJ gubernatorial candidates Corzine, Christie, Daggett clash over issues in final debate

With the bitter campaign for governor close to conclusion and the outcome very much in doubt, the three major candidates tonight stayed away from personal venom but clashed over a wide range of issues in their final face-to-face debate. During an hourlong session at WBGO-FM in Newark, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie and independent Chris Daggett crammed into the radio studio — standing so close that the governor nearly brushed his Republican opponent while gesturing with his arms. They debated as polls show a race too close to call between Corzine and Christie, with Daggett continuing to gain ground. (Heininger/Margolin, Star Ledger)

RNC Chairman Michael Steele campaigns in Westfield

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele thanked GOP phone bank volunteers Thursday morning during a campaign stop for Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie in Westfield. Appearing at the Union County Republican headquarters on North Avenue, Steele campaigned alongside Republican lieutenant governor nominee Kim Guadagno, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) and several county Republican dignataries. During the event, Steele took time to thank the volunteers for their work. "I want to take a moment to say how much I love you and thank you for what you're doing," he said. "This is a labor of love. Some of you have been in the trenches for a long tie, hoping against hope." (Celock, Westfield Patch)

County GOP asks town parties to send debate audience members

The Union County Republicans are encouraging town parties to send attendees to Thursday night's debate for county freeholder, but said the attendance will be not be used to decide which town parties will receive funding from the county organization. A widely read weekly e-mail newsletter put out by the Roselle Republican Committee to Republicans said in the Oct. 11 issue that the debate would be Thursday night and attendance was required by town parties. "And don't forget the Freeholders' debate attendance on the 22nd as a campaign funding requirement!" the e-mail read. (Celock, Westfield Patch)

Prudential Center, Izod Center truce appears imminent

A truce between the Meadowlands’ Izod Center and the Prudential Center in Newark appears to be imminent — and if the deal is signed, it could have the Nets moving to Newark next fall for two seasons (or more) and the Izod Center becoming the long-term concert and family show mecca for North Jersey. Carl Goldberg, chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and Jerry Zaro — Governor Corzine’s economic czar — confirmed Thursday that they have been meeting for four months, at Corzine’s insistence, with Devils chief owner Jeff Vanderbeek to complete such a deal. Those talks also have included Nets chief executive Brett Yormark in recent weeks. Zaro said détente between the arenas is critical. (Brennan, The Record)

Only a few more days of nonstop negativity

California is so unique it has a Road Rage Motel for motorists to throw bottles at a movie screen crawling with traffic. What is needed in New Jersey in a political ad rage outlet for viewers annoyed with gubernatorial commercials. Both Gov. Jon S. Corzine, of Hoboken, and Republican rival Christopher J. Christie indulge in the same negative campaign game. To casual observers, the ads must be perplexing. (Albright, Jersey Journal)

What Christie’s ‘change’ message is missing

Voters here don't particularly like Jon Corzine or Chris Christie. So each candidate has tried to tie themselves, to different degrees, to a politician that the New Jersey public does like, President Obama. For Corzine, a fellow Democrat, the link is easier. Obama himself made the case for re-electing Corzine Wednesday night in Hackensack. The message: the "change" that Obama promised in Washington will do better with a Democrat in the Statehouse in Trenton. But Christie has also seized on Obama's "change" message, casting himself as the outsider who would uproot business as usual in Trenton, notably by lowering taxes. (Tamari, Inquirer)

Kantor: I'll take lie detector test

If elected to Bayonne's City Council on Nov. 3, Leonard R. Kantor, a Korean War veteran and retired police officer, has offered to take a lie detector test seven months into his term. "I am running as an honest person," said Kantor, 78, one of six candidates vying for an at-large seat. "I am the only person running for office in the state offering to take a lie detector test. Our career politicians put themselves first before their constituents." A regular speaker at Bayonne council meetings, Kantor prides himself on not having ties to the current administration, and vows to cut patronage jobs and eradicate waste. (Hack, Jersey Journal)

Mayor: Bergenfield hurt by Ferriero, Oury

There weren’t many tears shed in Bergenfield Thursday when former Bergen County Democratic Organization chief Joseph Ferriero was convicted for his participation in a grants scheme that earned him thousands of dollars at the borough’s expense. Residents walking on Washington Avenue as well as politicians said the jury made the right move by convicting Ferriero on two of seven counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the borough of the honest services of former borough attorney Dennis Oury in a federal corruption trial.”Bergenfield has been hurt by these people. It really has,” said Bergenfield Mayor Timothy Driscoll, who was not in office when the grant scheme took place. “I think it’s about time that we saw something happen to eliminate some of the corruption.” (Kindergarn, The Record)

Glatt: I'm in race because mess has gone on far too long

A fourth-generation Hobokenite, Kimberly Glatt, 44, can claim in her campaign for mayor that she has no ties to City Hall – a strength after this summer's arrest of former Hoboken mayor Peter Cammarano on corruption charges and a not-too-long-ago 47 percent tax hike. "I thought I just love Hoboken too much to be the butt of everybody's jokes and to let this continue," Glatt said during an interview at the W Hotel, where she lives in an apartment with views of Hoboken and Manhattan's skyline.(Clark, Jersey Journal)

Candidate Profile: Chris Daggett

How many people, Chris Daggett wants to know, feel well represented by Republicans or Democrats in Trenton? In a Bordentown crowd of a couple of dozen people, a few hands go up. How many feel either party is addressing the issues facing the state? Even fewer hands. Daggett says he, too, no longer believes either party will tackle the state's problems, which is why he is running for governor as an independent. (Lu, The Inquirer)

Candidate Profile: Jon Corzine

Shortly before he took the reins of a government bleeding red ink and mired in ethical muck, Jon S. Corzine relaxed by tackling a different kind of challenge. It was Thanksgiving weekend 2005, after a hard-fought campaign and a couple of months before he would be sworn in to his new job. Corzine and the youngest of his three children went on an Aspen, Colo., getaway. But the slopes, Jeffrey Corzine recalled, were "unskiable." Yet Jon Corzine went all day, riding the toughest trails. Such determined gusto, according to his children, is typical. (Tamari, Inquirer)

Candidate Profile: Chris Christie

Christopher J. Christie was in shirtsleeves, standing in the parking lot of the Forked River Diner in Ocean County during Memorial Day weekend. A few feet away, traffic clogged the very patch of Route 9 that locals believe Bruce Springsteen memorialized in "Thunder Road." Despite the heat and the cranky tourists eager to begin a season of partying and relaxation, Republicans jammed this campaign stop and embraced Christie. They weren't just shaking his hand, they were hugging him, and, very naturally, he was hugging them back. The Republicans in New Jersey haven't won a statewide race in a dozen years. They've been embarrassingly out-fund-raised by Democrats and reduced to the sidelines in Trenton. (Burton, Inquirer) Morning News Digest: October 23, 2009