Morning News Digest: Aug. 12, 2013



Morning News Digest: Aug. 12, 2013




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Winners and Losers: Week of August 5


While it was a busy week of campaigning, our state politicos largely stayed out of the limelight – with a few notable exceptions. Five days out from the Senate primary, both front-runners took some flak, though likely not enough to affect the outcome and one Trenton lawmaker won the latest round in the never-ending ethics feud.  Tony Mack is back on our list this week as well as first-timer Alieta Eck.


Here are this week’s Winners and Losers. (PolitickerNJ)



Lonegan fights back, bringing forth new round of rebukes


A moribund short-runway contest for the vacant U.S. Senate seat has turned into an explosive tug of war on the subject of race, with a white Republican candidate proclaiming himself a victim of political correctness.


The mess started after the Lonegan Campaign tweeted a widely disparaged racist reaction to Thursday night’s WBGO/News 12 Democratic debate. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Gay marriage supporters argue to court equal protection being denied them


TRENTON – Advocates for marriage equality argued in court papers filed Friday that same-sex proponents are being denied equal protection under the law.


Further, argues Garden State Equality, their equal protection should not be postponed until some future undetermined date when marriage laws are no longer in “flux.’’


The organization that went to court to argue for gay marriage rights after the Supreme Court earlier this year overturned a previous law filed its response today to a legal brief filed by the state last week. (State Street Wire)



Eck in wake of campaign tweet: Lonegan ‘unviable’ as a candidate


Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alieta Eck trashed Steve Lonegan’s Campaign tweet from last night, calling her rival in Tuesday’s special primary election “unviable” as a candidate.


The statement criticizing Lonegan came from Eck’s campaign manager. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Report: Lonegan camp deletes racist Tweet


Newark went bonkers last night in response to a tweet from the campaign of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate who was trying to be the best friend of Brick City’s anti-Booker crowd.


POLITICO reported that Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota and favorite to win the U.S. Senate Primary, ordered deleted a tweet from his campaign widely disparaged as racist. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Kean Sr.: Chris Christie gives GOP the best chance in 2016


The Republican party is at a crossroads and will have a big decision to make on its direction should Gov. Chris Christie enter the 2016 presidential contest, former Gov. Tom Kean said in an interview today.


Kean, an elder statesman in New Jersey and a popular figure in national political circles, said should Christie enter the race, Republicans will be faced with the choice of fielding a candidate who can win or fielding an ideologue to promote party purity. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)



N.J. corporate subsidies bill hits a new snag 


A controversial bill to drastically change how the state gives out tax breaks to corporations has already faced its share of obstacles.


After its introduction was delayed when Hurricane Sandy upended the state Legislature’s priorities, the measure was put on the fast track in the Assembly before the Senate changed it to strip environmental protections and load it with perks for South Jersey. (Friedman/Star-Ledger)



Christie, Booker share donors from Wall Street to Silicon Valley


Five dozen wealthy donors from Wall Street to Silicon Valley have placed their bets on both of New Jersey’s big political stars — Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker — this campaign season, a Star-Ledger review of state and federal records shows.


When the governor and the mayor hit the fundraising circuit in California this year, they collected maximum donations from many of the same tech moguls at gatherings hosted by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a friend to both men. (Rizzo/Star-Ledger)



Newark Mayor Cory Booker pocketed ‘confidential’ annual payouts from law firm while in office


Cory Booker pocketed “confidential” annual payouts from his former law firm while serving as Newark mayor.


Booker, the front-runner in New Jersey’s Senate race, received five checks from the Trenk DiPasquale law firm from 2007 until 2011. During that time, the firm raked in more than $2 million in fees from local agencies over which Booker has influence. (Gartland & Edelman/NY Post)



The Senate candidates in their own words


Tuesday is the day of New Jersey’s special Senate primary, and in case you missed any this week, here’s a compilation of the stories we ran this week featuring thumbnail profiles of the candidates and their discussion of issues in their own words. (Jackson/The Record)



U.S. Senate race: Gloves are off as candidates near Tuesday primary


After two months of subtle barbs and polite policy disputes, the long knives are out.


As the candidates in Tuesday’s special U.S. Senate primary career toward Election Day, the race to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg has quickly morphed into the kind of gloves-off, dirty brawl that New Jersey has come to expect. (Giambusso/Star-Ledger)



A true upstart: Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Alieta Eck takes on Obamacare in first-ever race


The day U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg died, Alieta Eck was treating a patient at the free health clinic for the poor and uninsured she operates with her husband in Somerset County.

The patient, she said, had just learned her minimum-wage job was being cut from 37 to 29 hours a week, with her employer blaming the costs associated with President Obama’s health care overhaul. (Johnson/Star-Ledger)



Lonegan again dismisses claims Booker tweet was racist, calls controversy ‘a tempest in a teapot’


Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan said today that controversy over a racially tinged tweet a campaign worker sent last week was merely “a tempest in a teapot.”


“I think it’s time to move on,” the former Bogota mayor said in an interview during a campaign stop in Hawthorne, where he greeted Republicans at a barbecue on a quiet suburban block. (Hutchins/Star-Ledger)



Christie tweets on the beach


Well, I guess we know what Gov. Chris Christie likes to do on vacation.


Taking time off at the governor’s retreat on Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park, Christie posted 50 tweets in the span of three hours today, after inviting others to tweet him about their experiences on the Jersey Shore. (Strunsky/Star-Ledger)



UPDATED: Women’s group calls Booker “unresponsive,” backs Holt

WASHINGTON — The New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women issued a stinging critique of Cory Booker Saturday, questioning his work in Newark and the substance behind his popularity as the group endorsed U.S. Rep. Rush Holt in New Jersey’s Senate race. (Tamari/Inquirer)



What we learned during Senate debates 


The criticism bandied about at two debates last week featuring all four Democrats running for the U.S. Senate was not particularly vitriolic, but it was telling about the candidates in an abbreviated race.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the front-runner and a rising political celebrity with ties to Oprah Winfrey and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, emphasized practicing consensus-building over a commitment to specific issues and was circumspect about responding to the barbs. (AP)



From the Back Room 



Condolences to Senate President Steve Sweeney


The PolitickerNJ staff would like to express our sincere condolences to Senate President Steve Sweeney on the death of his mother. (PolitickerNJ)






Stile: Buono is hoping the left will see the right Christie 


Barbara Buono is betting on a liberal uprising.


The Democratic nominee for governor from Metuchen is convinced that all of those independent and Democratic voters infatuated by Governor Christie’s tough-talking persona will come to their senses and flock to her campaign once the true, right-wing Christie is revealed. (Stile/The Record)



Kelly: N.J. Senate race: History in the making?


A GENERATION AGO, a Paterson-born guy named Lautenberg wondered if he could actually get elected to the U.S. Senate. He wasn’t worried about his talents as much as his surname. Would New Jersey send a Jew to the Senate?


We all know the answer. Garden State voters loved Frank Lautenberg, who represented the state during parts of four decades in the U.S. Senate before dying in office in June at the age of 89. (Kelly/The Record)



Column: A bad time to hold an election, but a good time to vote


How many people reading this know that Tuesday is an election day in which voters will decide which Democrat and which Republican will meet in October to determine who will fill out the unexpired term of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg?


Based on my admittedly unscientific personal survey of people I run into at gas stations, groceries, gyms and hair-cutting places, far less than you would think and much less than it should be. (Ingle/Gannett)



Booker, Christie don’t belong on pedestals


All it took was one week in August to reveal in glaring light that even our best politicians are, well, still politicians.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Gov. Chris Christie, both flying high in the polls, were subject to news reports detailing fantastically ordinary political dealings that make them look — in varying degrees — greedy, vain and power hungry. (Schoonejongen/Gannett)



Radical thinking on college tuition: Editorial


Tuition at New Jersey’s state universities is among the country’s most expensive. Only Vermont and New Hampshire charge their homegrown students more. A four-year stay could easily saddle a student with more than $100,000 in debt. The Great Recession proved the value of a bachelor’s degree. College-educated workers lost millions of jobs, but they’ve recovered better while less-educated workers are still hurting. (Star-Ledger)


  Morning News Digest: Aug. 12, 2013