Morning News Digest: October 27, 2009

Democats willing to let faithful see Obama, even if it detracts from GOTV efforts Democrats are willing to give campaign

Democats willing to let faithful see Obama, even if it detracts from GOTV efforts

Democrats are willing to give campaign workers a few hours off on Sunday so they can attend one of two campaign rallies featuring President Obama, even though it means taking bodies away from phone banks and door knocking two days before Election Day in a race that most pollsters say is too close to call. Obama will speak at rallies for Gov. Jon Corzine's re-election campaign at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden and the Prudential Center in Newark. Whatever Democrats may lose for a few hours in the way of mechanical operations will more than be made up for in getting energized by close proximity to the President, say some Corzine supporters. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Daggett pushes back against conspiracy theory

Since his independent campaign went from being a curiosity to a legitimate factor in race for governor, Christopher Daggett has been dogged by the rumor that he is a stalking horse for Gov. Corzine – a willing accomplice to help an unpopular governor win reelection by sapping the anti-incumbent vote from Republican Chris Christie. Former Republican Gov. Christie Whitman even seemed to lend the theory credence when she told Fox Business News that the Corzine camp was “urging people, quietly, to support Chris Daggett because, by doing that, they figure they'll split the independent vote.” (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Poll: Daggett could do better with voters tired of the two major parties

Independent gubernatorial candidate Christopher Daggett has not fully capitalized on anti-major party sentiment, new data released today by the Rutgers-Eagleton poll reveals. The poll found that almost 70% of New Jersey voters were open to a strong alternative to the Republican and Democratic Parties. Thirty-seven percent said they would prefer more than two important parties, while 32% said that candidates should not run with party labels at all. But Daggett only gets the support of 20% of likely voters. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

If caucus bucks him, sources confirm DeCoce's contingency plan includes Bramnick

IfRepublicans fail to make significant gains in the legislature this year, the political fate of Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) becomes a question mark, despite the avowed strength he has in his own caucus. A coup launched by Assemblyman Pete Biondi (R-Hillsborough), the Republican conference leader,and Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham Twp.) fizzled last month when Biondi, working in tandem with Merkt,couldn't scrape together sufficient support to threaten DeCroce.(Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

NJ Senate President Richard Codey is life of party for Assembly Democrats

Even as members of his own party seek to oust him as Senate president, Richard Codey is in high demand these days as a Democratic Party star on the campaign trail. He’s stumped for Gov. Jon Corzine. And he’s constantly campaigning for Assembly Democrats fighting Republican challenges — even those who share districts with senators lining up against him in the battle for the Senate’s top spot. "I’ve been doing this since I was governor," Codey said. "When anyone within the party asks, I’ll be there for them." (Megerian, Star Ledger)

Mulshine: Christie, don't denounce what you can't prenounce

You know a politician’s in trouble when he starts going on talk radio to denounce "pundints." For one thing, that word has only one "n" in it. For another, the reason the pol is denouncing pundits is usually that the pundits in question have written something entirely accurate. I normally don’t pay much attention to this sort of thing. But my attention was piqued when a friend told me that Chris Christie was on Jim Gearhart’s show on New Jersey 101.5 radio last week denouncing not just any "pundint," but the most perceptive, the most incisive, the most reliably accurate newspaper columnist in all America.That’s right: moi.

GOP worried about Daggett's impact on NJ race

Democratic Gov. Corzine winked as he extended his hand to independent Chris Daggett in a ceremonial handshake before the last televised debate in the tumultuous New Jersey governor's race. Was it a facial tic or, as some wonder, something more – confirmation of a conspiracy theory running through Republican circles that Daggett is somehow being helped by Corzine? Suspicion runs rampant when a candidate becomes a major factor in a race that appears to be a near tie between the big-party nominees. Independent pollsters and analysts say Daggett's recent surge in popularity hurts Republican nominee Christopher J. Christie a little more than it hurts Corzine. (Burton, Inquirer)

Prudential Center vs Izod Center: a proper end to NJ's dueling arena saga

Just to prove it’s an election year, and no good deal goes unscathed, state Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) ripped the recent everybody-wins deal between New Jersey’s dueling arenas brokered by Gov. Jon Corzine and his economic czar Jerry Zaro. Cardinale’s sticking point? The agreement would allow the Nets to leave Izod Center for the Prudential Center next season without paying a $7.5 million penalty. "A windfall at the expense of the New Jersey taxpayers," Cardinale called it. Funny, but we haven’t heard a peep out of Cardinale for years while the state propped up Izod — located in his district — and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority with tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. (Star Ledger)

Corzine: using 'weight' in Christie ad was poor choice of words

Governor Corzine said Monday night that it may have been a "good idea" to use different wording in a campaign commercial that spawned accusations he was calling Chris Christie overweight. Corzine, speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room," defended the advertisement that said Christie "threw his weight around" to get out of traffic tickets while U.S. attorney. The ad, which showed unflattering images of Christie's girth, sparked a backlash against Corzine after it was written up in the New York Times. Corzine said the word choice diverted attention from the real issue at hand, "the abuse of power in that office." "How many people can abuse their power, abuse their office by flashing their credentials, throw their weight around, however you want to say it?" Corzine said. Christie had criticized Corzine during an appearance on the same program last week, saying the governor was exploiting a decades-long battle with his weight. (Heininger, The Record)

Corzine says he still steer NJ out of recession

While his two main rivals hunted for votes at campaign stops around the state, Governor Corzine worked the airwaves Monday, arguing in a series of television and radio interviews that he deserves a second term to "get us out of the recession sooner and stronger." "We have a great working relationship on the economy with the president, and I think we're beginning to see … things coming around on the economy," the Democratic governor said on News 12 New Jersey. "As the national economy goes, I think so will New Jersey's." Visits by President Obama, who campaigned for Corzine in Hackensack last week and will be in Newark and Camden on Nov. 1, have also provided a lift, the governor said. "It's very helpful that a popular president believes that I can be a better partner with them than the other candidates in the race," Corzine said on Fox 5 New York. (Heininger, The Record)

Candidates for NJ governor mount for final push

With one week to go until Election Day, Democratic Gov. Corzine is bringing back the national star power, Republican Christopher J. Christie is planning to get on the air, and independent Chris Daggett is firing up the tour bus. "We intend to close the deal this week," Christie said in a radio interview yesterday, summing up what may be the attitude for all three campaigns. Corzine is counting on visits today by former President Bill Clinton and on Sunday by President Obama, who will be in Camden at 1:20 p.m., to help put him over the top in a tight campaign. Christie's campaign has promised its biggest ad buy of the race and a tour of the state's 21 counties. (Tamari, Inquirer)

Hamilton Dems blast 'hiring gimicks,' GOP spending

The Democratic candidates for council have once again taken aim at administrative hiring practices and the township's new call center. The candidates — Vinnie Capodanno, Fred Dumont and Wendy Sturgeon — attacked what they termed "hiring gimmicks," in a written statement yesterday based on a township extraordinary-aid application obtained by the trio. The application details the list of new and eliminated positions for fiscal year 2010, which began July 1. The Democrats are crying foul over three police positions on the "eliminated list," as well as seven new positions related to the new call center and HamStat tracking program, which the Democrats have criticized as an example of needless spending by Hamilton's GOP administration. (Duffy, Newhouse)

Tussle turns test as ward campaign heats up in New Brunswick

With just a week to go before Election Day, those on each side of the city's ward referendum are accusing the other side of trying to suppress public discourse on the matter. Benjamin Bucca, a member of anti-ward group Unite New Brunswick, filed a police report last week saying about 100-125 anti-ward yard signs were stolen from homes throughout the city early last week.Middlesex County Freeholder and City Councilwoman Blanquita Valenti was among those who reported having a sign stolen. Valenti said her sign, and all the others in her Dewey Heights neighborhood, were stolen on Oct. 17.(Kaltwasser, Gannett) Morning News Digest: October 27, 2009