Winners and Losers: Week of October 24

Winners

Vin Gopal

The Democratic District 11 Assembly challenger received the endorsement of the Asbury Park Press, a rare feat for a Democrat.  Gopal got the nod over Republican incumbent Mary Pat Angelini.

Chris Christie

The Republican governor’s approval numbers remained strong this week as 51 percent of respondents to a Fairleigh Dickinson/Public Mind Poll approve of the job Christie is doing.  The poll marked a new high for the governor with 47% saying he’s doing a “good” or “excellent” job.

Jeff Van Drew

Van Drew, in a tough re-election battle for his District 1 Senate seat received the endorsement of the Atlantic City Press. “His ability to work with members of the opposition party is both real and valuable,” the Press said in its endorsement. “And his willingness to look at issues on their merits, rather than blindly adhere to political ideology, makes him the best candidate in this race.”

Bob Menendez

Menendez shed a longstanding albatross this week as the U.S. Attorney said a five-year-old investigation into the junior senator from New Jersey is closed. The investigation was launched in the heat of Menendez’s 2006 campaign and is closed in time for his re-election bid next year.

Democratic County Parties

The state’s 21 county Democratic parties hold a 3 to 1 cash on hand advantage over their Republican counterparts, according to the latest filing from the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

The State Congressional Delegation

Eight of thirteen members of the state’s House  delegation and both sitting senators  participated in an anti-bullying public service announcement this week titled “It gets better.”  The bi-partisan message of hope organized by Sen. Frank Lautenberg seeks to assure bullying victims that their troubles won’t last forever. 

(Former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Jon Runyan’s message of hope was particularly poignant.  After years of bullying at the hands of Giants Defensive End Michael Strahan, Runyan moved on to become a U.S. Congressman.)

Losers

Clifford Minor

The former Newark mayoral candidate Clifford Minor was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for his role in conspiring to commit bribery in connection with witness testimony and for committing perjury, obstructing justice, and falsifying records in furtherance of the scheme.

Peg Schaffer, Joseph Camarota, Marie Corfield

This Somerset County trio engaged in a round of dumpster diving this week as they attacked 16th District incumbent Assemblyman Republican Peter Biondi for missing several key legislative votes over the past two years. In approving the mailer,  Schaffer claimed not to know that Biondi was battling cancer, however, it was well-known among statehouse press and politicos that the popular Republican was not well.

President Obama

The president has found himself with a headache in New Jersey after a second month of upside down approval numbers. 

Tony Mack

Mack is on course to sit atop the pantheon on PolitickerNJ losers with yet another appearance this week.  The most recent difficulty to beset the Trenton mayor is a lawsuit filed by a former employee that accuses Mack of corruption and misuse of public funds.  According to the suit filed by former department of recreation employee Maria Richardson, Mack  paid aide Johnnie Vaughan Jr. $40,000 for a job he rarely showed up for and stole city property for his own use.  Mack had no comment when called by the Times of Trenton.

NJ Voters

In the run-up to legislative elections, the talk has centered not on the electoral process and the excitement of a new legislative session, but on the lack of public engagement and the expected anemic turnout come Election Day.  The new legislative map has neutered the process leaving voters in 37 districts with little reason to head to the booths. Winners and Losers: Week of October 24