Morning Digest: Oct. 10, 2013

Palin to campaign for Lonegan in N.J.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will travel to New Jersey after all.

Republican Steve Lonegan’s campaign announced Wednesday evening Palin will appear at a New Egypt rally this weekend to support his bid for Senate. (Arco/PolitickerNJ) 






In attendance at Durkin’s Essex fundraiser, Fulop says he would back Prieto for speaker

BELLEVILLE – Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop backs fellow Hudson County Democrat Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-32) for Speaker – that is if Prieto runs for the job. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ) 






Steve Lonegan blasts Cory Booker’s city: ‘Big black hole’

Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan faced off Wednesday in a final, lively debate ahead of New Jersey’s special Senate election, covering a range of issues including the debt ceiling, abortion and gun crime.


Lonegan, the underdog and former mayor of Bogota, N.J., focused much of his attack on Newark — the city Booker governs — as a proxy for the front-runner’s weaknesses, calling the city a “big black hole” that fills a nearby river with “bodies floating around from shooting victims.” (Titus/Politico)









In D.C., Chris Christie huddles with Jeff Chiesa


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came down to Washington on Wednesday and paid his old friend Sen. Jeff Chiesa a visit — but they didn’t talk Senate policy or strategy.


The Republican governor and interim Republican senator did not discuss Chiesa’s position on raising the debt ceiling, on which Chiesa remains undecided. Senate Democrats need to pick up six Republicans to vote with them on a procedural test later this week and only one, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has indicated support. (Everett/Politico)






No common ground: Lively Booker-Lonegan debate shows stark differences

GLASSBORO – Steve Lonegan called President Obama a “tyrant” in his second debate with Cory Booker on Wednesday night and said he was pleased that Republicans are standing up to him — a position that Booker said proved that Lonegan supports the disruptive brand of “shutdown politics” that have shuttered parts of the federal government.

Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, and Lonegan, a conservative Republican who previously served as mayor of Bogota, are competing in Wednesday’s special election for U.S. Senate to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat who died in June at 89. The debate at Rowan University — which was sponsored by the university, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia NBC affiliate, WCAU-10 — laid bare the stark contrast between Lonegan, a blunt-spoken devotee of small government and uncompromising conservatism, and Booker, who loftily defends government as a tool to cure social ills. (Jackson/The Record) 






Christie touts state funding for upgrades at Ramapo College in Mahwah

Mahwah — Governor Christie visited Ramapo College of New Jersey last week, to the open arms of students and township officials as part of his tour to state universities and colleges that are receiving state funds to significantly upgrade their campuses.

About $20 million is going toward upgrades at Ramapo, a portion of a $1.3 billion higher-education bond referendum, which was approved by voters last year and is funding 176 projects at 46 higher education institutions in the state.

Christie attended Ramapo’s capital project investment announcement on Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the Arch Courtyard outside the Student Center, where more than 100 students had gathered to hear him speak. (Carrera/Mahwah Suburban News) 









Christie maintains a big lead in latest Quinnipiac poll


TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie holds a nearly 2 to 1 lead over Democratic challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono in the governor’s race, according to new poll. (Portnoy/Star-Ledger) 






Republican Party’s Rating Plummets to ‘Record Low’

There may be plenty of blame to go around for the nine-day government shutdown, but the Republican brand is taking the harder hit in public opinion.

Just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, down 10 percentage points from last month, according to a Gallup poll. The polling firm called it a “record low,” noting that “this is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992.” (Blumenthal and Edwards-Levy/Huffington Post) 





Rowan in political discourse spotlight

GLASSBORO — The curtain rose, a camera panned the room and the lesson began.

The two candidates in the final stretch of a race for the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat sparred Wednesday night before a crowd that included students and faculty at Rowan University.

The Glassboro campus housed the second and final debate between Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan, days before the Oct. 16 special Senate election.. (Fichera/Courier-Post Staff) 





Candidates: Consolidation could offer a way to reduced taxes

NEPTUNE — Several municipalities soon could share police departments if voters elect William Field as senator of the state’s 30th Legislative District on Nov. 5.

The Democratic challenger proposed Howell police extend their reach to Farmingdale, which he said would require only one police officer and cost two-thirds of what the state already pays for State Police to cover the half-square-mile borough.

Field not only favors such municipal consolidation, but he also thinks legislators should force resistant towns to do so. He said the shared services would reduce property taxes in the district, which also includes Avon-by-the-Sea, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Brielle, Lake Como, Lakewood, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights and Wall. (Panissidi/Asbury Park Press) 





State Board Won’t Let Doctors Work for Hospital-Owned Corporations

Hospitals argue change is needed to ease integration with practices, but board members see variety of pitfalls


The State Board of Medical Examiners has rejected a request to allow doctors to be employees of hospital-owned corporations that aren’t headed by doctors.

The board decision yesterday reinforced a long-standing rule in New Jersey that doctors and other healthcare professionals generally cannot work for corporations, because they may feel pressure to put financial considerations ahead of patients’ interests. (Kitchenman/NJSpotlight) 








Administration to Allocate $25M in Federal Funds to Spur Resiliency

Local governments and services are objects of largesse, but critics dismiss program as drop in bucket

The Christie administration yesterday said it is looking to give $25 million in federal funds to 146 municipalities, counties, and government facilities and services so they can upgrade their energy systems and avert outages during extreme weather.

The funds, allocated from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, are targeting police and fire stations, emergency operations centers, wastewater treatment plants, and other critical resources. (Johnson/NJSpotlight) 






Borgata gets N.J’s 1st Internet gambling permit

ATLANTIC CITY — he Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa on Wednesday received New Jersey’s first Internet gambling permit.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement said the casino was the first to file a complete application to offer online gambling, which will begin with a trial period on Nov. 21. (Perry/Associated Press) 





DiVincenzo asks Essex County prosecutor to investigate charity questions

NEWARK — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo today asked the county prosecutor to investigate allegations that members of his administration mishandled how federal and state aid dollars were disbursed through a local charity.

The announcement came several days after a story in The Sunday Star-Ledger raised questions about whether the county was properly awarding federal money to applicants claiming to be needy. The story cited internal county documents as well as interviews with county officials and charity employees. (Giambusso/Star-Ledger)








Booker, Lonegan are even more contentious in final U.S. Senate debate

GLASSBORO — Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan apparently did not hug and make up after last week’s tense U.S. Senate debate.

Wednesday night, both emerged from their campaign corners and came out swinging for round two: a debate with even more heated arguments over crime, abortion, the economy and gay marriage that stirred controversy, raised grisly visuals and sometimes threatened to get out of hand. (Friedman/Star-Ledger) 








Candidates in Atlantic City-Based 2nd District Hope Lady Luck Smiles on Campaigns


Incumbent Democratic State Senator, Two GOP Assemblymen Face Formidable Challengers

Lights flashing, wheels spinning, bells chiming: The Deuce is one place where major political parties go to spend their hard-raised cash.

Centered on Atlantic City, New Jersey’s 2nd Legislative District is one of the big prizes on Nov. 5. But in this den of high-stakes politics, voters like to hedge their bets. The district’s voter registration skews slightly Republican in a county that leans slightly Democratic. (Tyrrell/NJSpotlight) 









Oliver reaches out to Green for support for a third term as speaker of the Assembly


TRENTON – Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34), East Orange, wants a third term as speaker, she told Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) earlier today, according to the veteran legislator. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)







 From the Back Room


Cranes versus Vultures

One of the most comical moments in tonight’s Booker-Lonegan debate came when the candidates considered the subject of “birds.”

Democrat Cory Booker started with his definition.

“There’s such booming development (in Newark)… the most common bird you see in Newark right now is the crane,” the mayor said, because of all the new construction. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ)








More than 550,000 catch the first gubernatorial debate


Well over a half million people tuned into New Jersey’s first gubernatorial debate Tuesday night, according to a published report. (NJPoliticker Staff/PolitickerNJ) 















Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens’ graceful goodbye


State Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens, praised this week for her legal competence and judicial wisdom, can teach us all something about graceful exits, too.

Nearing the premature end of her tenure on the state’s highest court, Hoens offered a moving farewell, crediting her success to lessons learned raising her 29-year-old son, Charlie, who has autism.

“Every important thing I ever became, all of the qualities like patience and compassion and strength and courage, all of it was forged on the anvil of autism,” Hoens said Tuesday. (The Star-Ledger Editorial Board/Star-Ledger) 








New shutdown outrage irritates


Not very far away from us in Dover, Del., you can see one of the most outrageous manifestations of the government shutdown, now in its second week.

The Pentagon has stopped paying immediate death benefits of $100,000 to families of military personnel who were killed in action in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It gets worse: Family members have had to pay their own way for flights to Dover Air Force base, where many of the bodies return, to recover the remains of their loved ones. And, with no stipend, relatives have had to use their own funds to pay for funerals and caskets. (South Jersey Times)   Morning Digest: Oct. 10, 2013