Winners and Losers: Week of October 10

Winners

Chris Christie

Christie’s approval ratings hit their highest levels yet in a Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Poll.  The governor’s approval rating jumped to 54 percent, versus 38 percent disapproval.  His dalliance with a presidential run clearly paid off for him as the governor’s profile is higher than ever before.

Bob Menendez

Menendez turned around his poor August poll numbers this week, going from an upside down approval rating to a 42 – 35 rating, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Voters split 40 – 38 percent on whether Menendez deserves another six-year term in the Senate. By a narrow 43 – 39 percent, voters say they would vote for Menendez over an unnamed Republican challenger. Menendez is also set to report $7 million on hand and $1.7 million raised in the last quarter when he files his latest FEC report.

John Driscoll

The 38th District Senate candidate was one beneficiary of the Christie for president hype that dominated news coverage last week.  Christie, whose approval rating hit an all-time high this week, appeared alongside Driscoll this week at a Bergen county press conference, where the governor took some shots at Driscoll’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Bob Gordon. 

Mitt Romney

The presidential front-runner scored the much sought after endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie this week.  Christie supporters had already begun to flock to Romney after the New Jersey governor officially (again) announced he does not plan to run.  The endorsement, along with dozens more from the state’s Republican county chairman that are sure to follow, will help keep Romney squarely in the driver’s seat for the GOP nomination.

Joe Kyrillos

As Mitt Romney’s New Jersey campaign manager in 2007, Kyrillos was an odd man out when Sen. John McCain won the nomination.  This time around Kyrillos will be joined by the establishment in his backing of Romney after Christie threw his support to the former Massachusetts governor.  Should Romney win the nomination, it could bolster Kyrillos’ desire to launch a bid for U.S. Senate, challenging fellow winner Bob Menendez.

Sen. Nick Sacco

The North Bergen mayor held his annual mayor’s ball this week and by one count had more than 1,000 attendees, including U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, Sen. President Steve Sweeney, the Senate and Assembly delegations and a dozen local mayors. One Hudson lawmaker and mayor not in attendance was Brian Stack.  Sacco and Stack have a long-running feud.

Joe Doria

The former Department of Community Affairs commissioner under Gov. Jon Corzine this week was finally let off the government’s hook when the U.S. Attorney supplied Doria with a letter saying he was no longer under investigation.  Doria was caught up as part of the July 2009 Operation Bid Rig Arrests.

“Based on the evidence of which we are currently aware, no charges will be brought by this office regarding the circumstances that led to the search,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James Nobile said in the Sept. 7 letter to Doria’s attorney.  The former Assembly speaker was forced to resign from the DCA after federal agents searched his home, but he was never charged with any wrongdoing.

 

Losers

Kenneth Disko

Disko, 48, of Mountainside, pleaded guilty today before Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue in Union County to an accusation charging him with the second-degree offense of making false representations for a government contract.  In pleading guilty, Disko admitted that he orchestrated a series of bid-rigging and kickback schemes from 2001 to 2010 as the contracted engineer or engineer/architect on record for the Westfield, Tinton Falls and Scotch Plains-Fanwood school districts.

Jim Curcio

A state committee that oversees judicial conduct has filed a complaint against Curcio, the Atlantic County Surrogate, over Curcio’s role in a fundraiser held for Republican 2nd District Assembly candidate Chris Brown.

According to the complaint filed by the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Judicial conduct, Curcio violated the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees, which prohibits surrogates from engaging in partisan political activity and from holding a leadership position or serving as a spokesman for a partisan political organization.

Sen. Jim Whelan

A Whelan campaign ad was the subject of a Star Ledger Politifact investigation this week after Whelan accused his opponent, Republican Vince Polistina of gorging himself at the public trough.  Politifact slapped Whelan, calling his claims hypocritical (Whelan collects nearly $150,000 in public salaries and pension) and outrageous.

Xanadu

A Fairleigh Dickinson poll released this week shows the public has no stomach for using public money to complete the massive shopping and entertainment complex that has been dubbed the ugliest building in New Jersey.

Ron Salahuddin

 The former Booker administration deputy mayor faces up to 20 years in prison after a federal jury today returned a verdict of guilty to a charge against Salahuddin of conspiracy to commit extortion. The same jury also found Salahuddin’s business partner, Sonnie Cooper, guilty of the same charge. In his position as deputy mayor, Salahuddin steered city contracts in 2006 and 2007 to a demolition firm, then demanded the firm hire Cooper. Both men were acquitted of other corruption charges.

Phil Mitsch

There’s probably a niche out there for a social media expert to teach politicians what not to do on Twitter and Facebook.  (Lesson 1 – Nobody wants to see your junk, Messrs. Weiner and Magazzu)  But if such a class exists, it’s too late for the 6th District Republican Senate candidate who made some off-color observations about women in several messages to a fellow tweeter. (Lesson 2 – Never assume some guy you’ve never met won’t leak your mysoginistic comments). Democrats have seized on the messages and Friday demanded Mitsch resign as a candidate.

Kim Guadagno

A Monmouth University poll this week put into numbers what many already knew: Voters have no idea who the state’s lieutenant governor is and what’s worse, about half of the state doesn’t know the office exists.  The good news for Guadagno is her approval rating is 2 to 1. The bad news is only 9 percent of voters approve of the job she is doing, while 87 percent have no opinion or no idea who she is. Winners and Losers: Week of October 10