Morning News Digest: November 3, 2009

Editorial: 10 Reasons for New Jerseyans to vote this election day

In the chatter of this heated (and entertaining) gubernatorial campaign, there has been endless debate about wasted votes. Republicans and Democrats insist a vote for independent Chris Daggett is a waste because, they say, he has no shot at winning. Daggett supporters insist a vote for Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine or Republican Chris Christie is a waste because it’s a vote for a broken and corrupt political system that, after decades of mismanagement, has pushed the state to the financial and emotional brink. But here’s the reality, straight from your sixth-grade civics textbook: A wasted vote is a vote not cast. (Star Ledger)

Democrats admit paying for pro-Daggett call; Obama records call for Corzine

The Democratic State Committee now admits paying for a robocall to Somerset County voters that slams Republican Chris Christie and promotes independent gubernatorial candidate Christopher Daggett. A Democratic spokeswoman says the party’s chairman, Joe Cryan, was not aware of the robocalls when he denied that the state committee had anything to do with them yesterday afternoon. Cryan, who told yesterday afternoon that the Democratic State Committee had “absolutely” nothing to do with the call, could not immediately be reached for comment. The call angered Republicans and further fueled conspiracy theories that Daggett is in cahoots with the Corzine camp. A disclaimer at the end says it was paid for by Victory ’09, “a project of the NJDSC” (Democratic State Committee), and gave the committee’s Trenton address. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Christie gives last pre-Election speech in hometown Livingston

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie returned to the town he grew up in to rally the Republican faithful one last time before polls open tomorrow morning. Addressing a crowd of about 200 in an ornate catering hall four doors down from his childhood home, Christie gave a variation of the stump speech he’s given countless times across the state. But he peppered it with references to his home town and the fact that he had known some in the audience for decades.” “Thee foundation was laid here. Everything that has happened up ‘til now, everything that will happen tomorrow night and everything that will happen the years after – all of that was laid right here in Livingston, this wonderful place where I grew up,” said Christie. “…I don’t know whether any of us could have possibly imagined that a day like today could actually come for one of us. But here it is, and like it or not, it’s me,” said Christie. Christie also explicitly hit Gov. Jon Corzine on the outsider status that his campaign has hinted at for months. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Obama connection to Corzine may weaken guv with Orthodox Jews but Shaer says sentiment not uniform

Fighting for re-election in the 36th District, Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) said an email blast today by a constiuent urging Orthodoz Jews to vote against Gov. Jon Corzine is not representative of the community's view of the incumbent Democratic Party governor. "(Republican) Allen Shwartz's endorsement of Chris Christie is kind of like Richard Nixon endorsing the Republican candidate," said Schaer. "Our community is not in lockstep on the governor's race. Some rabbis are backing Christie, othersare supporting Corzine.As a member of the Orthodoz Jewish community I've certainly made my overtures on behalf of the governor." Shwartzin his email panned Corzine,in part using the governor'slinkage toPresident Barack Obama as an argument against supporting the incumbent. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Most Paterson council members agree there is ground game for Corzine, but two have their doubts

Barack Obama first sprang the "cousin Pookie" line in New Jersey back in 2006, when he was campaigning for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken) in Paterson. "He said to me, 'Vera, we know about cousin Pookie, don't we?' and I told him, 'We sure do," recalled the 4thWard councilwoman, who's served on the governing body for 24 years in this Passaic County anchor city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, 25,882 to 2802. Now incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine is hoping the campaign efforts of President Barack Obama will amp up his numbers in urban areas like Paterson. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Daggett reaches out to conservatives, says Corzine and Christie 'joined at the hip'

Campaigning today in Montclair, independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggettappealed tomovement conservatives tovote forhim despite Steve Lonegan's amplified endorsement of GOP nominee Chrs Christie. "Ithink the people who backed Steve Lonegan in the past aren't at all interested in supporting Chris Christie,' Daggett told "I've seen it on the campaign trail. They knowChris Christiedoes not represent whatthey feel isin the best interest of this state in the sense of taking on the tax system and being able to reduce taxes as I've proposed to do. "I've seen they're more interested in seeing somebody who's interested in stepping up to address the issues and give some commonsensical answers, not some big promise that he's going to cut taxes across the board and then give you no plan whatsoever to do it," Daggett added. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Suburbs key in NJ governor's race

Finishing his morning coffee with three friends — like him, all retirees and registered Republicans — Leonard Reisner let it slip that he would be voting to re-elect Jon S. Corzine, the Democratic incumbent governor. The others, all firmly backing Christopher J. Christie, the Republican standard-bearer, looked startled. “What has he done for us that’s helped in any way?” said Santa Hartmann. Mr. Reisner, who gathers with the same group each morning at Panera Bread here, said the governor had won his vote by expanding the “senior freeze” on property taxes and preserving his $1,200 rebate check. Helen Hunt shook her head. “Anybody that would ride down the parkway at 90 miles an hour without a seat belt doesn’t have much judgment,” she said. Cities like Newark and Camden have gotten a lot of attention in the race so far, as Mr. Corzine worked to drum up enthusiasm among core Democrats in urban neighborhoods. But many analysts say the contest is likely to be decided in the suburbs — as New Jersey elections usually are. (Halbfinger, New York Times)

Next NJ governor in hands of voters

Now it’s voters’ turn: Polls will be open across the state from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. today for the General Election. Three major candidates, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie and independent Chris Daggett, along with seven others, are seeking to become the state’s next governor. In addition to the governor’s race, all 80 seats of the General Assembly are open, and there is a special Senate race in the 23rd Legislative District to fill the two-year unexpired term of Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.). Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Warren) and Democrat Harvey Baron are vying for the seat vacated in the 23rd’s Warren and Hunterdon counties when Lance was elected to Congress. Voters also will be asked to decide whether the state should borrow $400 million to replenish the Garden State Preservation Trust. The bond issue would set aside $218 million for open-space purchases, $146 million for farmland preservation, $24 million for wetlands protection and $12 million to save historic sites.

Mulshine: all things being equal, this campaign was a New Jersey nightmare

Today’s election is too close to call. But I’ll call it anyway. The loser will be the guy who ignored the New Jersey Dream. Just what is the New Jersey Dream? I got thinking about that a few weeks ago after I read an article by a British writer about California. “California has always been a special place, with its own idea of what could be achieved in life,” he wrote. “There is no such thing as a British dream. Even within America, there is no Kansas dream or New Jersey dream." No New Jersey dream? I beg to differ. So would that guy I ran into at the beach Sunday as I was about to drive north to cover the campaign that will wrap up today.(Mulshine, Star Ledger)

Going into election day, a dead heat for NJ governor

New Jersey residents will choose a governor today following months of hard campaigning and negative advertising that have left the major-party candidates – Democratic Gov. Corzine and Republican Christopher J. Christie – in a dead heat. An estimated 2.5 million voters are expected to go to the polls at the end of a race that both parties portrayed as a referendum on the popularity of President Obama, who visited the state three times to appear with Corzine. Residents also will vote in a range of other races, choosing Assembly members, county freeholders, and municipal leaders. But most eyes have been on the governor's race, and new polls yesterday showed it was still up for grabs. "Some people say they're seeing momentum," said Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray. "Momentum indicates something is going in a direction. This is going everywhere. It's just wacky." (Burton, Inquirer)

Close governor's race splits state, Shore

<!–Saxotech Paragraph Count: 9
–>Could today's gubernatorial race be a redux of 1981, when a close election between Republican Tom Kean and Democrat Jim Florio resulted in recounts that lasted for weeks before the state had a governor-elect? In the end, Kean won that election by 1,797 votes out of 2,290,201 votes cast.In statewide polling conducted over the final weekend of this year's campaign, the Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll finds that the race is still in a statistical no-man's land, but that incumbent Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat, now appears to have a 43 percent to 41 percent lead over Republican challenger Chris Christie. Independent Chris Daggett is holding at 8 percent. (Larsen/Patberg/Jordan, APP)

Judges at the ready to handle voting problems

Bergen and Passaic will be staffed Tuesday with judges and attorneys on election duty at their respective county buildings and courthouses to assist any voters who encounter problems at the polls. “The most common problems include individuals who appear at the polling place and are told by Board of Elections workers that they are not eligible to vote, either because their name is not in the registration book at the polling site or because a candidate is challenging the validity of that voter for some other reason,” said Passaic County state Superior Court Judge Ernest M. Caposela in Paterson, who is overseeing election matters there. Challenges to the validity of a voter’s registration could be due to “discrepancies with home addresses or failure to reregister after moving into the district or moving out of the district,” Caposela added. Judges are on duty at the courthouses in Paterson and Hackensack to resolve such issues. (Petrick, The Record)

Ingle: Democrats lied, they paid for robocalls

Yesterday when it became public, the Democrats denied paying for robocalls on behalf of independent Chris Daggett that slammed Republican Chris Christie. Today, Democrats admitted they lied. Party Chairman Joe Cryan, appointed to that post by Jon Corzine, and also is a state Assemblyman and a deputy sheriff — Cryan must be great at time management – said he knew nothing about it, the same thing he said yesterday. Guess the Democratic Party does whatever it wants without management. “Yesterday, Jon Corzine’s party boss Joe Cryan said that ‘No, zero, nada, no,’ when asked if he had anything to do with the robocalls,” Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the Republican State Committee, told Politickernj’s Matt Friedman. (Ingle, Gannett)

Today, the voters will get their say

New Jersey's candidates for governor darted through the state on the last day of a campaign being billed as a vote on President Barack Obama's popularity. Obama has made five appearances in New Jersey to make his case for Jon Corzine, the only Democratic governor seeking re-election, who is facing a tough challenge from Republican Chris Christie, a former prosecutor. Republicans have not won statewide in New Jersey in a dozen years. Christie Todd Whitman, who was re-elected governor in 1997, was the last Republican to win. Polls show the race a tossup heading into Tuesday, and a victory would sting the president in a state he carried by 15 percentage points a year ago. Third-party candidate Chris Daggett, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, could influence the outcome.Corzine and Christie divided their packed schedules Monday between battleground counties they see as must-wins, and counties they're likely to carry but need big pluralities to win overall. (Delli Santi, AP)–the-voters-will-get-their-say

Court rules Corzine can join lawsuit seeking to bring sports betting to NJ

Gov. Jon Corzine can join a legal battle to bring sports betting to New Jersey, a federal judge ruled Monday in a move that could boost efforts to reverse a 17-year ban on the wagering in the state. In ruling for the governor, the judge said the lawsuit’s outcome could affect Corzine’s ability to meet his duties, including determining whether sports gambling could be a revenue source to balance the state budget. “We’re pleased the federal court agrees that Governor Corzine should be permitted to fight for New Jersey’s economic interests, and we look forward to arguing the merits of the case in court,” said William Castner, Corzine’s chief counsel. Corzine sought to become a party to the suit in July, four months after state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) sued the federal government, claiming the 1992 sports betting ban discriminates against New Jersey and 45 other states where sports betting is illegal. Only Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon met a deadline to sign up for sports betting. (Graber, Star Ledger)

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds lead over William Thompson, Jr. as city votes

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's record spending is favored to win him a third term today, but by a far smaller margin than the near-20-point blowout he pulled off in 2005. Public opinion surveys find Bloomberg with a much narrower lead over Democrat William Thompson Jr. this year than the lead he held over his Democratic opponent in his last re-election bid, when he steamrolled Fernando Ferrer by nearly 20 points. The billionaire mayor spent record sums from his personal fortune on both elections. He's likely to burn through more than $100 million on this one, while Thompson is expected to spend one-tenth of that. The mayor spent $85 million in 2005. Analysts say the smaller margin expected this year is partly due to voter resentment over the way the mayor hastily persuaded the City Council to change term-limit law last year so that he could run again. (AP) Morning News Digest: November 3, 2009