Morning Digest: Oct. 3, 2013

Whelan and Balles square off in AC ATLANTIC CITY – The Democratic incumbent and Republican challenger followed familiar scripts Wednesday

Whelan and Balles square off in AC

ATLANTIC CITY – The Democratic incumbent and Republican challenger followed familiar scripts Wednesday evening.

New Jersey spends too much, residents are taxed too high and gay marriage should be decided by the voters, Republican Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles told about 100 people. His opponent is a career politician and the state would be better served by tightening its belt and opening up to small businesses.

Democratic Sen. Jim Whelan, on the other hand, supported gay marriage, in his words, “before it was cool,” argues in favor of increasing the minimum wage and wants a millionaires tax passed in the state to offset slashes to property tax rates. (Arco/PolitickerNJ) 




Green PAC backs pro-environment legislators in NJ

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A nonpartisan group is making its presence felt in New Jersey’s legislative elections by supporting four candidates who rank among the most reliable pro-environment votes.

The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters’ political action committee is spending the bulk of its $55,000 this year on mailers on behalf of Kip Bateman, the 16th District Republican who tops the group’s scorecard in the state Senate. (Delli Santi/Associated Press)




Police layoffs dog Booker at mayoral candidates’ forum

NEWARK – Heedless of those rigid political cycles designating their contest as a 2014 event, the candidates for Newark mayor trampled into the 2013 gubernatorial arena with a competitive vengeance this afternoon. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ) 




 Sarah Palin backs Steve Lonegan, rips Cory Booker


Sarah Palin is the latest high-profile conservative to boost the campaign of New Jersey Senate hopeful Steve Lonegan in his race against Newark Mayor Cory Booker. (Kopan/Politico) 




Poll: Hilary Clinton tops Chris Christie, others

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite for president in 2016 if she runs, according to a new poll that shows her beating potential Republican challengers by double digits.

Clinton leads New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 49 percent to 36 percent, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) 53 percent to 36 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) 54 percent to 31 percent in the Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday. (Kopan/Politico) 




Bitterness deepens, shutdown talks yield no progress as U.S. debt defaults grow near

WASHINGTON — The fight over the government shutdown quickly moved Wednesday to a bigger showdown over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, as the first White House talks to solve the fiscal standoff failed to make any progress toward a deal. (GOLDFARB/THE WASHINGTON POST) 




 Three new charter schools approved in N.J.


New Jersey announced Wednesday it approved three new urban charter schools, with two in Trenton and one in Jersey City. (The Record) 




Booker boasts wide lead over Lonegan in fundraising for Senate race

Cory Booker raised more than twice as much as his opponent in the U.S. Senate race over the last two months, according to figures released by the two campaigns Wednesday.

Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, brought in $2.85 million between July 25 and Sept. 26. The Republican candidate, Steve Lonegan, raised $1.13 million. (Linhorst/The Record) 




While not calling for an end to shutdown, Lonegan calls memorial closures ‘despicable’

Steve Lonegan said Wednesday it is “despicable” that war memorials are closed during the government shutdown, but he continued his call for Republicans to “hold the line” — and continue the shutdown — until Democrats give in. (Linhorst/The Record) 




Rick Perry calls Obamacare ‘a criminal act’ as he stumps for Lonegan in Bergen County

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS — Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the nation’s implementation of Obamacare “a criminal act” as he ended his trip across New Jersey today with a rally for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan outside a Bergen County diner. (Johnson/Star-Ledger)



Signs point to grow momentum in N.J. commercial real estate market

Top economist sees improved outlook for leasing state’s office, industrial, and retail space.  (Nurin/NJSpotlight) 





Chris Christie says he inherited ‘the most business-unfriendly government’ in America

NEW BRUNSWICK — Gov. Chris Christie told business leaders this evening that he inherited a bloated state government that was “the most business-unfriendly in America,” but he said he’s made great progress in turning it around.

“We should not have been left with a $13 billion mess in the budget,” Christie said at an awards dinner held by the Alliance for Action, a business coalition. “We should not have inherited a state that overregulated business to the point that they were leaving. We should not have inherited a state that raised taxes and fees on its citizens and businesses 115 times in eight years at the state level.”  (Hutchins/Star-Ledger) 




State agency: DiVincenzo misused, obscured campaign funds

TRENTON — The state’s election watchdog Wednesday charged Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo — one of New Jersey’s most powerful Democrats and a crucial ally of Republican Gov. Chris Christie — with misusing more than $16,000 in campaign funds and failing to disclose nearly $72,000 in campaign spending over a two-year period.

DiVincenzo faces big potential fines if he is found to have used his campaign kitty to pay for sporting events, a tuxedo, parking tickets and other personal expenses, the State Election Law Enforcement Commission said. (Friedman/Star-Ledger) 




Christie and Sweeney talk bipartisanship at Rowan groundbreaking

GLASSBORO — At a groundbreaking on the campus of Rowan University today, Republican Gov. Chris Christie and state Senate President Stepen Sweeney, a Democrat, said they work together, why can’t Congress?

Christie and Sweeney said the federal government — in Day 2 of the first government shutdown in 17 years — can learn from their example of bipartisanship in New Jersey. They collaborated to deliver legislation reorganizing the state’s system of higher education and to promote a $750 million voter ratified bond issue to fund the changes. (Portnoy/Star-Ledger) 






Assemblyman who originally opposed same-sex marriage will support veto override

A GOP Assembly lawmaker who originally opposed a bill to permit same-sex marriage in New Jersey now says he will vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto if a bill hits the Assembly floor.

Assemblyman Chris A. Brown said during a Wednesday evening legislative debate he would vote to override the Republican governor’s veto. Brown’s announcement marks the first time during the lead up to an override vote that a lawmaker who voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year publically announced they would change their vote. (Arco/PolitickerNJ) 





Library advocates state case for increased funding


TRENTON – The way their supporters see it, libraries are not just places for books.

Not anymore.  They are community centers that provide meeting rooms, internet access, job-search aid.

That is why two lawmakers believe the nine straight years of declining state funding must end.

Burlington County lawmakers Sen. Diane Allen, (R-7), and Assemblyman Troy Singleton, (D-7), have sponsored bills to approve a supplemental fiscal year 2014 appropriation of $3 million for library aid. (Mooney/PolitickerNJ) 




N.J. congressman slam Colorado’s ‘Hypocrisy Crisis’ for seeking Sandy aid


Two New Jersey congressmen are calling a group of Colorado Republicans hypocrites for voting against the $50 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package earlier this year then requesting a chunk of the money to help their own state recover from last month’s deadly floods. (Spoto/Star-Ledger) 






 From the Back Room


Bergen Dems turn to a veteran for placeholder job in LD38 

Bergen Democrats will install a replacement for Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38), who’s retiring. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) 






WSJ sources: GWB lanes closed for political retaliation


The Wall Street Journal is reporting last month’s closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge is being seen by some in Bergen County as political retribution by New Jersey’s Republican governor. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) Morning Digest: Oct. 3, 2013