Morning News Digest: October 9, 2009

Debate a feisty first in N.J. gubernatorial race Kim Guadagno and Loretta Weinberg traded blows early and often in a

Debate a feisty first in N.J. gubernatorial race

Kim Guadagno and Loretta Weinberg traded blows early and often in a feisty debate between the candidates for lieutenant governor, which touched on topics as far ranging as small-business regulation and immigration. The candidates stuck to familiar storylines, with Guadagno, paired with Republican Chris Christie, continuing her running mate’s assault on high taxes, while Weinberg, a state senator from Teaneck, supported incumbent Jon S. Corzine’s handling of the economic crisis while demanding specifics on unspecified GOP plans to cut spending. Independent Frank J. Esposito, running with Chris Daggett, took the high road, saying “New Jerseyans are sick of this partisan game” in calling for a fresh approach to politics in Trenton. (St. Arney,

LG candidates battle at Monmouth University

The LG candidates mixed it up tonight in the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University, with home county Sheriff Kim Guadagno, a Republican, and Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) aggressively going after each other while independent candidate Frank Esposito played the mostly subdued middleman as the candidates debated everything from taxes to mammograms to weight. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

NJ lieutenant governor candidates, Weinberg, Guadagno aggressively spar in debate

Barely known outside of the state’s political circles, the candidates vying to become New Jersey’s first lieutenant governor pulled no punches last night in their only debate heading into the Nov. 3 election. Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Republican Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno and independent Frank Esposito held their 90-minute debate at Monmouth University amid a fiesty live audience that often interrupted with cheers and boos. The candidates sparred over taxes, corruption and health care. They also got personal, dishing out sharp critiques of one another and especially the gubernatorial candidates.(Margolin, Star Ledger)

Judge orders Holley into pretrial program for 'overzealous' pursuit of signatures

Superior Court JudgeRobert Billmeier ruled yesterday in favor of Roselle Council President Jamel Holley's admissioninto a pretrial intervention program (PTI),rejectingthe argument for criminal precedings pursuedby thestate Attorney General's Office,whichthis summercharged Holley with third-degree violation of the absentee voting law. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Here’s exactly why Christie is losing his head

When Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie was before the Star-Ledger editorial board the other day, I asked him just how he could keep his promise to increase property-tax rebates while also cutting the income tax. I pointed out to him that it is the income tax that funds those rebates. And that therefore he will not be able to increase rebates at the same time he cuts the source of funding for those rebates. (Mulshine, Star Ledger)

Corzine details how he will close state’s $8B budget defecit

After spending months accusing his Republican rival of having no plan to solve New Jersey’s financial woes, Gov. Jon Corzine revealed for the first time today details of his own proposals to close a looming budget gap. Corzine also made an uncharacteristically blunt case for four more years in the Statehouse, saying he has made progress tackling the state’s entrenched problems but has more ground to cover. (Heininger, Star Ledger)

Assembly Dems dominate fundraising, but spending is down across the board

Democratic Assembly candidates have raised and spent more than twice as much as Republicans, according to a press release from the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). Democrats in the state’s 40 legislative districts have raised a total of $6.8 million and spent $4 million so far, while Republicans have raised $2.9 million and spent $1.2 million.Democrats also lead in cash on hand, with $2.7 million left over to Republicans’ $1.6 million. All 80 assembly seats are up this year, but only a few districts are considered competitive. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Who won the lieutenant governor's debate?

Whatever else you say about it, the lieutenant governor’s debate was a lively event. New Jersey 101.5 FM News Director Eric Scott had to work hard to keep the candidates on track. I heard it on radio and it sure sounded like Sheriff Kim Guadagno, 50, Chris Christie’s running mate, won the night. Sen. Loretta Weinberg, 74, who is running with Gov. Corzine, sometimes had to be reminded what the question was. She came off as a Trenton insider. Sometimes she referred to herself in the third person. Frank Espositio, 68, Chris Daggett’s running mate, had clear answers, but didn’t get as much of a chance to speak because the two women kept going over on their time. (Ingle, Gannett)

GOP senators announce support for Sen. Tom Kean for Senate president

Republican senators announced today they are supporting Sen. Tom Kean (R-Union) for the Senate presidency. With 17 Republican votes, Kean has more votes than either of the two Democrats — Sens. Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) or Richard Codey (D-Essex) — who have publicly battled for the position. Any candidate needs 21 votes to become Senate president. (Megerian, Star Ledger)

NJ's public health, economy 'threatened' without universal healthcare, report says

If Congress fails to pass universal health care reform, New Jerseyans will likely see their insurance premiums to rise, more employers will drop coverage, and the middle class will suffer, according to a report released today. The report, by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonpartisan, non-profit liberal-leaning research group, urges the state’s congressional delegation to fight for passage of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. It also calls on the delegation to rally more public support for the bill, which would extend coverage to about 1 million of the estimated 1.3 million uninsured people in New Jersey. (Livio, Star Ledger)

Ward F candidate admits taking $15G worth of bribes

La Vern Webb-Washington, 61, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in Ward F in May, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit extortion, becoming the seventh person in Hudson County to plead guilty in connection with a massive federal probe. Webb-Washington wiped tears from her eyes during the brief hearing in federal court, where she admitted conspiring with former Jersey City housing commissioner Edward Cheatam, deceased political consultant Jack Shaw, and others, to receive $15,000 in bribes from FBI informant Solomon Dwek. (Conte, Jersey Journal)

To push 'hands off NJ Transit' development bill

The sponsor of a bill that would allow NJ Transit to develop its properties without input from local communities says he's moving forward with it, whether Hoboken likes it or not. Last week, Hoboken acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that state Sen. Paul Sarlo, a Bergen County Democrat, "agreed not to go forward until Hoboken is satisfied with its (the bill's) content."(Clark, Jersey Journal)

Chiappone to intro tough stolen gun bill

But he is still working. According to the former Bayonne councilman's chief of staff, Joe Olszewski, Chiappone is set to introduce state legislation that would impose stiffer sentences on people convicted of shooting a police officer with a stolen firearm.(Hack/Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)

Gloucester County reels from new of big job losses

After learning earlier this week that 400 refinery workers would be furloughed, Gloucester County now has received news of another economic blow – the closing of a U.S. Postal Service distribution facility in Logan Township. (Colimore/Hefler/Tamari, Inquirer)


  Morning News Digest: October 9, 2009