Morning Digest: Oct. 15, 2013

Booker draws line from shutdown, to firefighters facing layoffs, to Lonegan

ATLANTIC CITY – There is the scene in Rocky when the favorite, Apollo Creed, gets lectured between rounds by his clearly less-than–pleased trainer: “He doesn’t know this is a show.  He thinks this is a damn fight.”

If it was true that U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker – as challenger Steve Longan claims – had been taking this race for granted, that he was someone more interested in the celebrity of the office than its substance, then that probably couldn’t be said today as he came to this casino town to champion the fight of firefighters facing layoffs as a consequence of the federal government shutdown. (Mooney/PolitickerNJ)







Battleground races: LD 14, where unions hold clout

They’re concentrated and their significance can’t be underestimated.

In Legislative District 14, where Democratic Senate incumbent Linda Greenstein is fighting off a challenge from former district senator Republican Pete Inverso, one undeniable reality is that unions hold clout. (Arco/PolitickerNJ) 







FDU: Lack of engagement by moderate GOP could be a problem for Lonegan

Higher turnout won’t help the two candidates equally in tomorrow’s U.S. Senate special election, according to this morning’s Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll of registered voters

The poll acknowledges difficulty in estimating turnout due to the historic nature of the election and its unique timing on a Wednesday in October — three weeks before a gubernatorial election. But responses to certain survey questions suggest that turnout is likely to be light, with only 77 percent of registered voters even knowing that elections are coming up, and only 64 percent knowing about a Senate election. Only a third (34 percent) of registered New Jersey voters can name both candidates in the Senate election without prompting, and just 57 percent know that Booker, considered a political celebrity, is in the race. Low turnout generally means that independent voters stay home – and Republican candidates in New Jersey need independent voters to overcome Democrats’ advantage in raw numbers. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) 







Debt limit deal on horizon

Senate leaders said late Monday that they were closing in on a deal to raise the federal debt limit and end the 2-week-old government shutdown, just days before the Treasury Department exhausts its ability to borrow. (Montgomery and Helderman/The Washington Post) 











Buono, Christie hail new endorsements


Governor Christie returned to a familiar theme of his reelection campaign Monday as he highlighted the ongoing recovery from Superstorm Sandy, while his challenger, Barbara Buono, got a boost from a high-profile out-of-state Democrat, something that hasn’t happened much for her this fall.

Christie, a Republican seeking a second term, used an endorsement event at a supermarket in a Monmouth County community hit hard last year by Sandy to talk about the state’s continued recovery from the storm.

“There’s still a lot of work to do and I know that,” Christie said, standing outside the Super Foodtown in Port Monmouth. “We’re not taking any deep bows for the things that have happened in the last 11 months.” (Reitmeyer and Hayes/State House Bureau) 





Christie, Buono have final debate tonight

It’s the last stand for the Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Chris Christie in the gubernatorial election. Barbara Buono, trailing by substantial margins in polls and fundraising, debates Christie for the second and final time tonight at 8.

The meeting takes place three weeks before the Nov. 5 election and will be broadcast live by NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, and the C-SPAN networks. (Jordan/Asbury Park Press) 








Booker-Lonegan election Wednesday; could be national referendum on politics

New Jersey is just a day away from an election that may well be a referendum on national politics as well.

The special U.S. Senate election for the unexpired term of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg is Wednesday. From the start, Republican nominee Steve Lonegan has said the campaign will be about about President Barack Obama and, primarily, an expression of dissatisfaction with his health-care law. (Symons/Asbury Park Press) 











In 3rd District, GOP Hopes to Trip us Sweeney on Christie’s Cottails


Why have Republicans targeted the Senate President, the most powerful elected Democrat in state?

As he runs for reelection, Senate President Steve Sweeney has several factors in his favor: He’s the most powerful elected Democrat in the state; he hails from a district that favors his party by a 2-to-1 margin; and he enjoys a friendly public relationship with popular Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Still, those advantages haven’t stopped Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. from targeting Sweeney in an effort to pick up the five additional seats he needs to secure a Republican majority in the upper chamber.

Republican strategists are counting on Christie’s coattails to help pull Republicans who are lower on the ticket into office. (Nurin/NJSpotlight) 








Obama vouches for Cory Booker

President Barack Obama is getting out the vote for Cory Booker with a new video for the New Jersey Senate hopeful.

“Cory Booker has spent his entire life bringing people with different perspectives together, regardless of party, to take on tough challenges,” Obama says in the clip for the Democratic candidate. “Take it from me: Now more than ever before, that’s the kind of leader we need in the Senate. I’m asking you to pledge to vote for Cory on Wednesday.” (Gluek/Politico) 









DNC says Buono has its support


NEW BRUNSWICK – Sen. Barbara Buono’s gubernatorial campaign has received support from national Democrats, though officials aren’t prepared to say just how much the Democratic hopeful’s been given during her bid to unseat Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told reporters during a campaign rally Monday the DNC has put “a tremendous amount of resources” into Buono’s campaign and backed the state lawmaker’s bid “consistently throughout.” (Arco/PolitickerNJ) 





NJ Senate candidates have busy campaign schedules

TRENTON — New Jersey’s Senate candidates are asking for voters’ support and reminding them that their special election is on Wednesday.

Republican Steve Lonegan has stops scheduled Monday at a Westfield train station and diner, Ocean County GOP headquarters and a handful of small businesses. Lonegan also has rallies in Medford and Atlantic Highlands.

Democrat Cory Booker is on the third day of a bus tour. Monday’s scheduled stops are in the southern half of the state, including Trenton, Camden and Atlantic City. The Newark mayor is also going for an after-dark jog with supporters in Willingboro. (Associated Press) 






What Barack Obama, Republicans get with a  deal


It’s not a perfect deal for the White House — but it’s a worse deal for Republicans.

Democrats won’t say it too loudly just yet, but the emerging budget agreement leaves Republicans with remarkably little to show for forcing the first government shutdown in 17 years: They barely nicked Obamacare and their poll numbers are in tank.


President Barack Obama would get most of what he wanted. He had insisted that Congress reopen the government and extend the country’s borrowing authority without any ideological strings attached. He held the line on the debt ceiling and Democrats are set to hold off Republican attempts to lock in next year’s round of sequester budget cuts early.

But it’s not the squeaky clean bill Obama sought. (Brown/Politico)





GOP’s recipe for success is found on state level

With both cocktails and political messaging, it all comes down to the mix. Most people don’t want to guzzle down a glass full of gin, but with the right proportions of tonic and lime, a large majority of people will enjoy a gin-based cocktail. The Republican brand, as it is currently being served to the American people, is too much 100-proof Washington whiskey and not enough club soda, which is overpowering the successes the GOP is having at the state level. Rebalancing the recipe will be essential for national electoral success in 2014 and beyond.


In Washington, some Republicans have ginned up a whole lot of agitation. After the last debt ceiling faceoff and the 2012 elections, others recognized the need to broaden their message. Instead, a few loud voices hijacked the discussion and decided to attach an unattainable goal, the repeal of Obamacare, to a must-pass spending bill, generating a maelstrom that crowded out efforts to address entitlements, tax simplification, immigration or trade expansion. (Kennedy/Politico)



 From the Back Room



Monmouth Poll: Christie up 24 points over Buono

Monmouth University finds that incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election margin has increased. 

In this morning’s poll, New Jersey voters dismiss challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono’s (D-18) portrait of the incumbent as out of step with his constituents on key issues.

Voters likely to participate in the November election give Christie a 59% to 35% lead over Buono. This 24-point margin is an increase from the 19 to 20 point leads he held in prior Monmouth University polls released earlier this month and in August. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) 






Booker talks Torah on Jewish radio program


In an extensive interview with Talkline Radio, Mayor Cory Booker displayed his knowledge of the Torah and Jewish values.

Impressed, host Zev Brenner gave the Democratic candidate for senator the name – ‘Chaim’. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) 










No Reason to Wait on Marriage


In a wise ruling last month, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson declared that same-sex couples “must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.” On Thursday, she ordered that same-sex marriages be allowed starting Monday because New Jersey would suffer no harm if gay men and lesbians are permitted to wed. (The New York Times Editorial Board)   Morning Digest: Oct. 15, 2013