Morning Digest: Sept. 30, 2013

Judge says same-sex couples in N.J. can marry

TRENTON  – A Mercer County judge issued an order today allowing gay couples the right to marry in New Jersey.

Judge Mary Jacobson has granted Garden State Equality’s request for summary judgment to permit same-sex couples to marry.  (State Street Wire Staff/PolitickerNJ) 

Stockton: Van Drew beating GOP opponent: 62-39%; Assembly races tighter 

Two political figures from different parties – Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew – are leading by large margins in the 1st Legislative District, according to a Stockton Polling Institute poll released today.

Christie leads Democrat Barbara Buono, a state senator, 60 percent to 28 percent. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ) 

Chris Christie in tough spot after gay marriage ruling

A New Jersey judge’s ruling legalizing gay marriage in the state presents Chris Christie with a mixed political bag ahead of Election Day.


Christie is trying to win reelection in a blue state by a wide margin, the better to springboard into a 2016 presidential campaign. For Democrats, being pro-gay marriage has become the starting point for any candidate hoping to seek the party’s nomination in four years (witness Hillary Clinton’s move to publicly back same-sex marriage soon after leaving the State Department). (Haberman/Politico) 



Biden to campaign for Booker

Vice President Joe Biden will head to the Garden State next month to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Cory Booker, Booker’s campaign said Friday.

Biden will visit New Jersey on Oct. 11, five days before the special election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June at the age of 89. (Epstein/Politico)   


Newark mayoral candidate Baraka to appear with Council of Elders Invitee Angela Davis

The 1960s and the months immediately following, for people too young to remember them, were a period of Fear and Loathing, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, who shot himself in the aftermath of the bloody era he chronicled. 

Now a controversial figure from that time is stepping forward in Newark to appear at an event sponsored by the Council of Elders with their chosen mayoral candidate, Ras Baraka, the front-runner in the eyes of many insiders. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ) 


New Jersey minimum wage ballot fight heats up

On Nov. 5, New Jersey voters will have a chance to weigh in on what is likely to be the dominant business versus labor battle of the decade — the minimum wage.

The ballot question seeks to amend the state constitution to raise the minimum wage by $1, to $8.25 an hour, and to mandate annual cost-of-living adjustments to that rate. (Verdon/The Record)   


Christie: ‘Let the people decide’ on same-sex marriage

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie continued to press his case for a voter referendum on gay marriage in New Jersey, saying on national television today that “good people of good will have a difference of opinion.”

Christie, a Republican running for re-election against Democrat Barbara Buono, gave an extended interview to CBS that aired today on “Sunday Morning.”

“My view on it is, put it on the ballot,” he said about gay marriage, in the middle of a wide-ranging discussion about Hurricane Sandy, his weight and his presidential prospects. (Rizzo/Star-Ledger)   


Poll: More New Jerseyans favor Obamacare, but are confused by it

More New Jerseyans approve of the Affordable Care Act than the rest of the nation, but they are less likely to understand how the law affects them, according to a poll released today by Monmouth University and the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. (Livio/Star-Ledger)   


Rising polls boost Lonegan campaign in Senate race against Booker

BOGOTA — Steve Lonegan was 35 points down to Newark Mayor Cory Booker a few weeks ago, but having a good time.

His campaign for the U.S. Senate seemed a desultory sort of affair, not far removed from the kind he ran when he would go house to house, knocking on doors seeking votes to become mayor of Bogota, the blue-collar Bergen County town he still called home, and where he once proposed banning Spanish-language billboards. (Sherman/Star-Ledger)   


N.J. Democrats to hold press conference on gay marriage ruling

TRENTON — New Jersey’s Democratic legislative leaders plan to discuss marriage equality.

Today’s new conference comes after a state judge on Friday said the state must allow gay couples to wed starting Oct. 21. (The Associated Press/ 


Five debates in 11 days: Statewide races in N.J. are about to hit overdrive

TRENTON — Harry Truman was in the White House, the United Nations General Assembly met for the first time, Joe DiMaggio patrolled center field for the Yankees and televised political debates were unheard of.

The year was 1946, and New Jerseyans haven’t elected a governor and a U.S. senator in the same year since then. But residents already weary of political campaigns and candidates cradling babies had better brace themselves.

Friday marks the start of a 12-day campaign sprint crammed with five debates featuring the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate, topped off with a special Senate election. (Friedman/Star-Ledger)   


Bill calls for tracing compounded drugs to prevent contamination, Pallone says

A new U.S. Congressional bill that would help ensure the safety of compounded drugs and the nation’s pharmaceutical supply chain deserves support, said U.S. Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

Pallone co-authored the bipartisan Drug Quality and Security Act or H.R. 3204, which was developed partly in response to last year’s meningitis outbreak in Massachusetts caused by contaminated compounded drugs mixed at the New England Compounding Center, which killed 64 people and sickened 750 more, said Pallone in a release. (Williams/Asbury Park Press)  


Rutgers Redux: Higher Education becomes Issue in Gubernatorial Contest

Christie points to Rutgers reorganization with pride, Buono points out that tuition statewide has increased (Mooney/NJSpotlight)   


Lonegan: Gay marriage is not an issue, an activist judiciary is

Steve Lonegan, Republican candidate for the United States Senate, issued a statement tonight in reaction to a judge’s decision mandating gay marriage in New Jersey. (Pizarro/PoltickerNJ) 




Speziale set to be named police chief in Alabama


Former Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale, who left elected office to take a job as the number two cop at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is set to be named police chief in Prichard, Alabama, according to reports. (Isherwood/PoltickerNJ) 




Lonegan to hold rally at Hasbrouck Heights diner with Texas Gov. Rick Perry


HASBROUCK HEIGHTS — Steve Lonegan, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, plans Monday afternoon to hold a rally with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Bendix Diner.

According to Lonegan’s public campaign schedule, Perry will endorse Lonegan and stop in Smithville and Bayville before the rally.  (Ma/



 From the Back Room


Brubacker to be Menendez state director

Paul Brubaker, who serves as communications director to Sen. Bob Menendez, has been tapped to take over as state director for the senior senator. (Isherwood/PoltickerNJ) 


A new role for Mo

Mo Butler, Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s chief of staff, will have a new job if Booker wins his U.S. Senate race on Oct. 16th.

Two sources tell that Butler is set to become Booker’s state director if Booker defeats his Republican opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ)   


Morning Digest: Sept. 30, 2013