Morning News Digest: October 17, 2012
By Missy Rebovich
Lance has $400K COH to challenger’s $140K
Heading into the final days of their 7th District tilt, incumbent U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) has $400,972 cash on hand, while Democratic challenger Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula has $140,920, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
In the 12th District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) has $1,036,658.20 cash on hand, compared to Republican challenger Eric Beck’s $44,022 COH.
In the 6th District, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) has $3,463,830 and fomer Highlands Mayor Anna C. Little has $52,151 cash on hand. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
Big Dem Party names pick sides in Perth Amboy
Twenty-one days before Election Day, Perth Amboy has become ground zero for Democratic Party politics, the bragging rights battleground for possible future gubernatorial candidates Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19), state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18), Newark Mayor Cory Booker and state Sen. Richard Codey (D-27).
Hours after Wisniewski intends to endorse challenger Billy Delgado, Booker will keynote a fundraiser for incumbent Mayor WIlda Diaz.
Codey gave $4,500 to Diaz.
Diaz has the support of state Sen. Joe Vitale (D-19), who backed Codey in his unsuccessful 2009 bid to hold onto his Senate presidency. She also has the backing of Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, who served as treasurer in the administration of Acting Gov. Codey. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Wisniewski supporting Delgado as Diaz Campaign questions his Dem Party leadership
The low-grade civil war that for weeks has stirred the back alleys and waterfront crevices of Perth Amboy goes live at 1 p.m. tomorrow when Assemblyman and State Democratic Party Chairman John Wisniewski (D-19), Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman and Perth Amboy Democratic Chairperson Leslie Dominguez Rodriguez plan to endorse mayoral challenger Billy Delgado.
Wisniewski said Delgado is “the real Democrat” in his race against incumbent Mayor Wilda Diaz.
“Unlike Mayor Diaz, Billy Delgado shares our Democratic Party ideals and principles. Billy is pro-choice, supports unions and collective bargaining and opposes siphoning tax dollars away from our public schools,” said Wisniewski. “Mayor Diaz disagrees with us on all of these key issues. Her very conservative views are more in line with her friend Chris Christie and out of step with our values.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Christie well-positioned for 2013, poll shows
Governor Christie is well-positioned against potential opponents if he seeks re-election next year, but Newark Mayor Cory Booker would make it a race, according to a Qunnipiac University poll released today.
New Jersey voters say Christie, a Republican, deserves re-election by a 52 percent to 40 percent margin. In a head-to-head matchup with Booker, a Democrat, Christie leads 46 percent to 42 percent.
Against state Sen. Richard Codey of Essex County, a potential candidate who served as acting governor after Gov. Jim McGreevey’s resignation in 2004, Christie leads 47 percent to 41 percent. State Sen. Barbara Buono of Middlesex County trails Christie 49-33 percent, and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald of Camden County trails 50-31 percent. (Jackson, The Record)
Christie in late Senate race push
After months of running an underdog challenge to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Joseph Kyrillos has finally unleashed his most effective weapon: Gov. Chris Christie.
But a series of campaign events beginning this week with the popular governor may come too late for the Republican state senator, according to political analysts and polls. Mr. Kyrillos trailed Mr. Menendez 55% to 37% in a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey of likely voters released on Tuesday, a growing deficit in an uphill battle.
The poll comes as the pace of the New Jersey Senate race picks up. Mr. Kyrillos released his third television ad, featuring images of him and Mr. Christie. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman held fundraisers for Mr. Kyrillos last week, and first lady Mary Pat Christie is hosting an event for him in Woodbridge Thursday. (Haddon, The Wall Street Journal)
Poll: More N.J. voters prefer Democrats’ tax cut plan
Gov. Chris Christie has traveled the state criticizing legislative Democrats for holding up a tax cut, but a new poll shows voters side with the Democrats.
Fifty-two percent of voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning said they prefer the Democrats’ plan to wait and see if revenue comes in strong before voting on the tax cut, while 39 percent prefer Christie’s plan to enact it immediately.
That’s up from July, when 49 percent sided with Democrats and 43 percent with Christie. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
The Real Jersey Comeback
Analysts, developers, and academicians all saw hopeful signs, however faint, for New Jersey’s economy and housing market, but told a state conference in Atlantic City that the highly suburbanized state is poorly adjusted for longer-term changes.
Attendees at the Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development heard a sprinkling of numbers that should bring comfort — although not joy — to Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama.
Building permits are up 3,000 from last year’s pace, and could hit 15,000, the best figure since before the Great Recession, said Tim Touhey, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Builder’s Association. But he described “20,000 and more” as “a healthy market for New Jersey.” (Tyrrell, NJ Spotlight)
Municipal pension bills drop $116M across N.J.
Municipal pension bills across New Jersey are going down by $116 million this year thanks to an expected reduction in local government payrolls and downward pressure on wage growth.
Gov. Chris Christie made the announcement today, hailing it as further evidence that his 2011 pension overhaul is delivering relief to taxpayers.
“Our willingness to make the tough choices and achieve progress on meaningful reforms in a bipartisan way is continuing to deliver millions in long-term, sustainable property tax relief for our middle-class families,” Christie said in a statement. (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)
Menendez continues to out-raise Kyrillos in Senate race
With three weeks left before voters cast their ballots, Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez continues to have a sizable cash advantage over Republican challenger and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos.
For the three months through Oct. 1, Menendez raised $1.3 million, while Kyrillos pulled in $987,000, according to campaign filings submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
Menendez has collected more than $11 million from donors this campaign cycle, nearly three times Kyrillos’s haul of $4 million.
Menendez campaign manager Michael Soliman said the latest donations leave the senator “well positioned to achieve a victory.” (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)
Menendez: Partisan gridlock will break in second Obama term
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is predicting the partisan gridlock that prevents meaningful action in Washington, D.C. will break during a second term for President Obama.
Menendez, a first-term Democrat from North Bergen who is facing a challenge from veteran Republican state lawmaker Joe Kyrillos this fall, told The Record’s editorial board Tuesday that “things will change” even if Obama wins and the House of Representative stays under GOP control after next month’s elections.
“I think the president has more leverage and more flexibility in a second term without the possibility of reelection,” Menendez said. (Reitmeyer, The Record)
Will voters in 12th Congressional District see ‘red’ or still feel ‘blue’?
Candidates for the 12th Congressional District seat offer very different political perspectives, providing voters with a stark choice on Election Day.
On the one side is incumbent , who has one of the most liberal voting records in the House, according to , and who gets a perfect score from most environmental, pro-choice and financial-reform groups.
His main challenger, , a risk-management consultant, is a conservative who favors a flat tax, a balanced budget amendment and a “focus on spending cuts and not on tax increases.”
The two independents in the race, Kenneth J. Cody and Jack Freudenheim, both want to target partisan gridlock and promise not to be tied to either party. (Kalet, NJ Spotlight)
WSJ: Adelsons put another $500K behind Boteach
The same day the SuperPac running ads supporting Rabbi Shmuley Boteach confirmed the $500,000 came from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, the Wall Street Journal reported they are putting another $500,000 into the race.
That brings the total support from the Adelsons, the biggest donors to outside groups in this year’s election, to $1 million for Boteach, the Englewood “rabbi to the stars” who is running as a Republican to unseat Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-Paterson, in the heavily Democratic 9th District.
The Patriot Prosperity Political Action Committee can accept and spend unlimited amounts as long as it is not coordinated with the candidates it is supporting because rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts equated campaign contributions with free speech and said they could not be restricted by the government. (Jackson, The Record)
Lovett and Mosquera face off again for Assembly seat
She was in and then out and then back in again. Now New Jersey Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera is back on the campaign trail.
Eight months after the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned her 2011 victory in the Fourth District but allowed her to hold the seat until a new election could be held, the Democrat is facing off in a special election against the woman she beat last time, Republican former Gloucester Township Councilwoman Shelley Lovett.
One of only three legislative races in what is an off-year for New Jersey elections, the race so far has attracted little attention and is a long way from last year’s go-for-broke campaign. Back then, Mosquera’s camp ran steady television ads bashing Lovett’s record – among other things, for having raised the fees on pet licenses in suburban Gloucester. (Osborne, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
New Jersey leaders ridicule NCAA’s decision to snub state over sports-betting law
Gov. Christie and New Jersey lawmakers on Tuesday ridiculed the NCAA’s decision to relocate five championship competitions based on the state’s push to allow sports betting. The organization forbids sports betting in states that host its championship games and argues that wagering, whether legal or illegal, is harmful to college athletes.
“The NCAA wants to penalize New Jersey for responsibly legalizing what occurs illegally every day in every state and often with the participation of organized crime,” he said.
No one could have legally bet on the championship games in New Jersey. The constitutional amendment that allows sports gambling expressly forbids betting on any college team based in New Jersey or any college game played in the state. (Farrell, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Senate version of right to die act introduced
The Senate version of a “right to die” bill has been introduced.
S2259, designated as the “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act,” would allow an adult suffering from a terminal illness to end their life. (Staff, State Street Wire)
School districts comparison shop for teacher evaluation system
His Virginia accent coming through, James Stronge told representatives of dozens of New Jersey school districts that his teacher evaluation model was the right tool for the task. He also graciously said that none of his main competitors would be a bad choice.
But he didn’t hide the fact that he was making a sales pitch to the 100 or so school leaders gathered for his at the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association in Monroe.
“I’m not at all biased,” he said with a smile, “but this is the best tool and I hope you choose it.”
New Jersey schools are definitely in the market for an evaluation model, facing an end-of-year deadline set by the state to make their choices.
That model is a central part of the new tenure law enacted this summer, one that revamps when and how teachers receive tenure and requires districts to use an evaluation system that will accurately measure teacher performance. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)
Law would make it tougher for polluters to walk away from contaminated sites
The Legislature is moving to close a loophole involving the cleanup of contaminated industrial properties, which some fear may have allowed owners of the property to potentially avoid liability for pollution at the site.
By a unanimous vote, the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee this week approved a bill ( ) that would require the owner or operator of an industrial establishment to certify there is no contamination on the property.
The certification requirement previously existed under regulations adopted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, but was struck down by a state appeals court this past summer.
In ruling the state agency had overstepped its authority in ordering an industrial outfit to certify that is property was not contaminated, however, the three-judge panel invited the Legislature to clear up any ambiguities. (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)
Letter to Duncan: N.J. education standards are hurting minority students
The new accountability system implemented by New Jersey’s Education Department is disproportionately damaging for districts with lower-income minority students than schools with majority white students, according to a letter sent on Monday to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The letter, signed by a coalition of educators, administrators and civil-rights groups, alleges that the No Child Left Behind waiver, which New Jersey received in February, resulted in new standards put in place by the state Education Department.
The new state system targets certain “Priority” and “Focus” districts, which are threatened with closings and conversions to charter schools if they do not meet certain achievement outcomes. The classification, the letter charges, disproportionately includes school districts that serve predominantly low-income black and Hispanic student populations and would “reinforce racial and economic segregation and inequity in New Jersey’s public schools.” (Nhan, National Journal)
Atlantic City tourism leaders: ‘Do AC’ campaign is catching on
More people who view AC are willing to “Do AC.”
The Atlantic City Alliance, the new marketing arm of the casinos, says its multimillion-dollar advertising campaign shows people in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Md., are improving their perceptions of Atlantic City. A survey found that 39 percent of people who saw the campaign say they are motivated to visit there.
The group is using $30 million a year that the casinos used to have to pony up to the state’s four horse racing tracks in return for keeping slot machines out of the tracks. That money is now being used to promote Atlantic City more aggressively than ever before. (Associated Press)
From the Back Room
You think people were watching the debate?
Less than two hours after GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney uttered his quickly-becoming-famous ‘binders full of women’ line while defending his hiring practices of female cabinet members, a Facebook page of the same name has sprouted more than 160,000 ‘likes.’
The page, which based on the time stamp sprang up within minutes of the exchange between Romney and President Obama, had also received more than 1,000 comments. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
Christie’s persistence in Hudson County
As Gov. Chris Christie continued to criticize state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32) on his town hall tour, the message is jarring North Jersey Democrats in advance of 2013.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a party source said Christie is shredding Hudson to pieces, using his alliance with state Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-33) as a jumping off point to other countywide crusades.
Sources anticipate Stack to support Downtown City Councilman Steve Fulop in next year’s Jersey City mayor’s race, a combo that could spell further political clout for Christie in a general election. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
As in 2004, Ohio will decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential race
The similarities between the 2004 presidential race and this year’s contest are striking. In both races, the general election opponent of the incumbent president was from Massachusetts, John Kerry in 2004 and Mitt Romney in 2012. In both elections, the challenger was a very wealthy man. In both contests, the challenger decisively won the first debate.
The greatest similarity between the 2004 and 2008 elections, however, is yet to come: The presidential election of 2012, as in 2004, will be determined by the outcome in Ohio. As in 2004, the candidate who wins Ohio in 2012 will be elected President of the United States. (Steinberg for PolitickerNJ)
NCAA’s gambling position called ‘ludicrous’
Perhaps point spreads have become so ubiquitous in sports that we have forgotten their purpose.
Especially in football, the point spread is the subject of endless chatter on radio stations, in newspaper articles and on websites. Rutgers and Temple this Saturday? Rutgers is favored by 5.5 points. Army at Eastern Michigan? Army by 2.5.
This bit of information isn’t relayed just to keep you informed on who might be the better team. These numbers provide a sort of leveling, just in case you are inclined, maybe, to put a little money down in hopes for a return. In other words, those numbers are meant for gamblers. (Schoonejongen, Asbury Park Press)