Winners and Losers: Week of April 9th

WINNERS

Cory Booker

Guy runs into a burning house and saves a woman, then the Twittersphere compares him to Chuck Norris…’nuff said.

Karin Elkis

Elkis, who some readers said belonged on our 2011 Power List, was promoted to State Director for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to replace Mike Soliman who is running Menendez’s re-election bid.

Joe Kyrillos

Kyrillos’ candidacy got some good news this week with a Quinnipiac poll putting the Republican state senator 9 points behind incumbent Democrat Menendez.  Kyrillos also announced he raised $1.75 million and has $1.4 million in the bank, though the announcement was tainted by a National Journal article claiming the senator was playing games because nearly half of the money was raised in the exploratory phase of his campaign, which began in June.

Chris Christie

The governor’s approval ratings hit an all-time high this week with 6 in 10 voters giving the Gov. a thumbs up, including more than 9 in 10 Republicans.  The governor did take a hit this week as well when a government watchdog slammed him for providing false information when he killed the ARC tunnel a year and a half ago.  It’ll be interesting to see if the stellar approval numbers take a hit from the GAO jab.

Nia Gill

In a surprise move, state Sen. Nia Gill was given the Hudson County line by HCDO Chairman Mark Smith for her 10th District Congressional run.  The move sets up an interesting battle with challenger Donald Payne Jr. getting the line in Hudson and challenger Ronald C. Rice getting endorsements from Essex lawmakers Sen. Dick Codey and Assemblyman John McKeon.

Donald Payne Jr.

The Newark Council President running for Congress in the 10th District received the backing of the Essex County Democratic Committee.

LOSERS

John Wisniewski

The State Democratic Party Chairman had to explain why two former chiefs of staff were the names in a political action committee (PAC) packed with vendors donating to a fund that funnels money back into towns where those vendors do business.

Bob Smith

The media scrutinized the veteran 17th District state senator for his alleged role in the fundraising arm of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee, whose candidates rely heavily on contributions by vendors.

Middlesex County Democrats

The massive organization bore the weight of stories exposing a web of vendor-heavy PACS that have contributed thousands to candidates, in shadowy defiance of local pay-to-play ordinances. Sources tell PolitickerNJ the county Dems were deleting comments about the stories from their Facebook page.

Dennis Elwell

The former Secaucus mayor received 30 months in prison this week for accepting a $10,000 bribe in exchange for securing approvals on real estate projects in the township. In July, Elwell was convicted of one count of bribery and acquitted on one count of conspiracy and one count of attempted extortion under color of official right.

Betty Lou DeCroce

She’ll win, say sources close to the developing contest, but the newly minted 26th District Assemblywoman won’t skate into office without first having to fend off Republican challenger Anthony Pio Costa, who filed in the 11th hour to oppose the widow of Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce.

Francis X. Gartland

The former insurance broker for the Toms River Regional School District today admitted his role in a scheme to pay bribes and other benefits to the then-superintendent of schools to get and maintain a contract to provide insurance services for the district. Gartland pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton federal court to charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and perjury.

Winners and Losers: Week of April 9th