Morning News Digest: December 30, 2011
By Missy Rebovich
Pascrell slow to wrangle Passaic bases
While more than 60 Democratic politicos from Bergen and Hudson counties lent their support to U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) in the hours following his intraparty challenge announcement on Monday, Rothman’s opponent hasn’t been able to line up his backers with the same gusto. (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)
DCCC offered Rothman $1 million to challenge Garrett
U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman was promised up to $2 million in financing from the national Democratic Party if he challenged U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett in the newly configured 5th District, but turned it down in favor of an unpopular 9th District primary, two sources with knowledge of the offer tell PolitickerNJ. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
Christie, Codey continue feud, this time over Paula Dow judgeship nomination
There they go again.
Gov. Chris Christie reignited a feud with state Sen. Richard Codey Thursday over blocked appointments — this time over the departing state attorney general, Paula Dow, who was nominated to the Essex County Superior Court bench about two weeks ago. (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)
Christie: Corzine to blame for increases
Gov. Chris Christie is distancing himself from steep toll increases taking effect Sunday on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, placing blame on former Gov. Jon S. Corzine, out of office for nearly two years.
During a radio interview Thursday, Christie also said he didn’t have the option to trim the plan to increase tolls on the Parkway by 50 percent and on the Turnpike by 53 percent, an assertion immediately challenged by state Democrats. (Jordan, Gannett)
N.J. legislative Democrats say they will approve extended unemployment benefits by Jan. 9
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver on Thursday announced the Democratic-controlled Legislature will approve legislation on Jan. 9 to extend federal unemployment benefits to longtime unemployed New Jerseyans.
With New Jersey’s unemployment rate still hovering around 9 percent and 15,000 individuals applying for benefits last week, Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Oliver (D-Essex) said they welcome the federal extension to help New Jerseyans trying to find work. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
N.J. state senator says district was targeted after complaint to Christie
A Democratic state senator says his constituents woke up to automated political phone calls after he complained to Republican Gov. Christie’s office about the accuracy of the governor’s statistics on a key agenda item.
A spokesman for the New Jersey Republican Committee, which funded the calls, said he would not discuss their timing due to strategic concerns but said several Democratic legislators had been targeted, not just State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D., Bergen). (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
N.J. distributing $10M in Hurricane Irene federal disaster aid
In the aftermath of the flood and wind damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene (downgraded from hurricane before it made landfall in N.J.) four months ago, the state government this week disbursed over $10 million in disaster assistance to local governments and other public agencies and eligible non-profit organizations for storm-related expenses. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
Town rules out medical marijuana farming
Medical marijuana farmers will find no home here until federal and state laws are consistent in regard to the drug’s use and manufacture.
The Township Committee voted Wednesday night to adopt an ordinance requiring compliance with federal law. The ordinance was drafted to address inconsistencies in state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries after a company proposed a medical marijuana facility in neighboring Upper Freehold earlier this year. (Oglesby, Gannett)
Bergenfield ex-official sues mayor, Weinberg
A former Bergenfield councilwoman sued state Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Bergenfield Mayor Timothy Driscoll on Thursday, alleging that they encouraged prosecutors to bring a forgery charge against her in retaliation for supporting candidates they opposed. (Ensslin, The Record)
N.J. appellate panel urges tightened rules on judges’ conversations with jurors
Trial judges’ conversations with jurors outside the presence of attorneys do not automatically warrant reversing a guilty verdict, a state appellate panel said today. At the same time, it urged tighter ground rules for how judges interact with juries. (Spoto, The Star-Ledger)
Electronic wagering, failing school districts, other bills before Senate committees
The first week of the new year will see legislative committee work resuming.
Five Senate committees will meet on Thursday. Here is a rundown of some of the key bills that will be considered as the new year kicks off. (Mooney, State Street Wire)
From the Back Room
Gov. headed to Iowa
The state GOP released Gov. Chris Christie’s schedule for his trip to Iowa tomorrow, where he will stump for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The governor will make three stops, the first an early morning appearance in West Des Moines, the second a lunchtime stop in Cedar Rapids and the third a dinner time trip to Dubuque. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
2011: The year in review in politics
2011 was the year the Big Guy talked about taking on “Big Things,” the Democrats in Trenton tried to serve as his foil without ripping themselves apart, and the politically minded in New Jersey continued to be entertained by the fights, the foibles, the substance, and the personalities. (Aron for NJ Spotlight)
Democrats should ot concede the 5th
Passaic County’s Democratic freeholder director, Terry Duffy, is making noises about challenging Republican Rep. Scott Garrett in the newly redrawn 5th Congressional District.
Good for him. I was beginning to think Democrats had lost their spine, lost the fire in the belly or the hell-for-leather sort of fight they once lived for. (Lowry, The Record)
The 5th comes before the bottom of the 9th
Somewhere in North Jersey, a GOP operative should be standing nose-to-nose to an energetic moderate Republican who lives in the newly configured 5th District saying, “I give you a gift and you’re gonna stand here and show up my pitcher? Run, dummy!” (Doblin, The Record)