Morning Digest: May 14, 2014

Newark mayor’s race: Baraka victorious in Brick City 

NEWARK – Ras Baraka claimed victory tonight at 920 Broad Street.

“I said we were going to take City Hall, and we’re here on the steps of City Hall,” said the triumphant Baraka, in front of 500 supporters who marched from his victory party at the Robert Treat Hotel to Newark City Hall flashing V for Victory signs. 

“I am overwhelmed right now, I miss my father but he’s with me now,” said the Newark mayor-elect, referring to the late poet Amiri Baraka.

Having just defeated Democratic Party establishment candidate Shavar Jeffries, Baraka offered a message to Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo on the steps of City Hall.

“The machine is breaking,” he said.

Nonetheless, Baraka said he was ready to speak to Governor Chris Christie about the future of New Jersey’s largest city. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

Newark mayor’s race: Baraka victorious in Brick City | Politicker NJ






Jeffries: ‘We must all now come together as one’ 

NEWARK – Standing on stage with his family and supporters, the crowd inside Rutgers’ Newark campus’ Golden Dome Athletic Center shouted at Shavar Jeffries “we love you too” when the defeated mayoral hopeful told his fans he loves them.

“I reached out to mayor-elect Baraka, unfortunately I was not able to reach him,” Jeffries said. “We ran a very spirited campaign and unfortunately it became contentious at times.”

Jeffries, thanking U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10) and other local leaders who helped his campaign, spoke about the need to come together following the election.

“We must all now come together as one,” he said. “And so it’s time now for us to be a one Newark. … The time for fighting is over.”

Jeffries told supporters he is “extending his hand fully” to the new mayor and said he looks forward to supporting the city. (Arco/PolitickerNJ)

Jeffries: ‘We must all now come together as one’ | Politicker NJ





Vauss defeats Smith in Irvington 

ncumbent Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith lost to challenger Tony Vauss Tuesday night, according to unofficial election results.

Vauss received more than 33 percent of the vote against Smith’s 17 percent.

Vauss defeats Smith in Irvington | Politicker NJ





Christie: Nothing new came out of 7-hour GWB hearing

Governor Christie said he spent little time on Tuesday listening to his press secretary’s appearance before the legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures, but is confident nothing new came out of the roughly seven-hour hearing.

The governor, speaking during his monthly radio show on NJ 101.5, said he spent most of the day working on issues related to New Jersey’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Christie said he devoted “very little” time on press secretary Michael Drewniak’s appearance before lawmakers, Christie said.

“I probably spent about five to 10 minutes on it today,” Christie said of committee meeting.

But the governor said his staff was monitoring Drewniak’s testimony, during which Drewniak, a longtime Christie aide, said he had no knowledge of the bridge lane closures or the played any knowing role in a cover up. Christie said he was told Drewniak provided nothing that wasn’t already detailed in the report lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the firm hired by Christie, submitted in late March.

“Everything Mike testified to today was in the Gibson Dunn report,” Christie said. (Reitmeyer/The Record) 




Newark, Trenton highlight NJ mayoral races

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Residents of New Jersey’s largest city and its capital city will elect new mayors to take over from interim leaders who served out the terms of incumbents.

Mayoral races in Trenton and Newark top the list of contests around the state on Tuesday. Paterson, Bayonne, Long Branch and Ocean City are among other cities also holding elections.

The polls opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. throughout the state.

Voters in Newark will choose between City Councilman Ras Baraka and former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries. The winner will take the seat held by Cory Booker, who served from 2006 until he stepped down last year to run successfully for U.S. Senate.

The race has featured an expensive television advertising war in recent weeks. Baraka, 44, son of the late poet Amiri Baraka, has the support of the labor-connected New Jersey Working Families organization, which has paid for ads that accuse Jeffries of being a pawn of moneyed outside interests.

A crowd of supporters cheered as Baraka cast his vote Tuesday. He emerged from the voting booth and said, “Victory.” 




Governors Office Ignored Report That Kelly, Stepien Knew About Bridgegate

Senior Christie administration officials were told last fall that Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and Campaign Manager Bill Stepien knew in advance about the George Washington Bridge lane closures, but failed to conduct a thorough investigation to root out the truth until after Kelly’s infamous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email came out over two months later.

Michael Drewniak, Gov. Chris Christie’s press secretary, testified yesterday that he reported the allegations about Kelly and Stepien to Charles McKenna, Christie’s chief counsel, in late October or early November. Drewniak’s testimony confirms that “there was a level of knowledge in the governor’s office” about Bridgegate much earlier than Christie has acknowledged, said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), who cochairs the Select Committee on Investigation.

Drewniak testified under oath yesterday that David Wildstein, the Port Authority official who directed the lane closures, told him that he had cleared his GWB plan with Kelly and Stepien. When he passed along that information to McKenna, Drewniak added, the second-ranking official in the governor’s office told him he was already “looking into it.” (Magyar/NJSpotlight) 






Division of Rate Counsel Says Grid Upgrade Could Cut Customer Bills by 5%

f a $1 billion tentative settlement wins approval from regulators, customers of Public Service Electric & Gas will still see a drop of at least 5 percent in their electric bills, according to Stephanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel.

Speaking at an event sponsored by AARP New Jersey, Brand said the proposed agreement with the state’s largest utility should reduce bills even with the investment PSE&G’s grid upgrade will involve, primarily because surcharges stemming from the deregulation of the energy industry in 1999 will be eliminated. (Johnson/NJSpotlight) 





From the Back Room’s Bonamo provides commentary on NPR’s Morning Edition about Newark mayor’s race’s Mark Bonamo provided commentary on National Public Radio’s (NPR) Morning Edition program on Wednesday morning about the Newark mayoral election. 

Bonamo was interviewed by co-host Renée Montagne about Tuesday’s mayoral election in New Jersey’s largest city, won by Ras Baraka over Shavar Jeffries.’s Bonamo provides commentary on NPR’s Morning Edition about Newark mayor’s race | Politicker NJ





Unofficial numbers in Paterson mayor’s race and at-large council races

These are the Paterson election results.

These include a count of 2,440 mail-in ballots, reprinted from the Bergen Record. The results do not include a tally of an undetermined number of provisional ballots. More than 22,400 votes turned out, about 2,400 more than in the 2010 election.

Click on the link for the results.  

Unofficial numbers in Paterson mayor’s race and at-large council races | Politicker NJ





Two June 10th runoffs in Newark ward races 

In Newark ward races, South Ward candidate John Sharpe James (71.66%), North Ward incumbent Councilman Anibal Ramos (71.95%) and East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador (53.55%) all won tonight.

Incumbent Central Ward candidate Darrin Sharif (32.95%) and challenger Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins (24.95%) are both headed for a Central Ward runoff.

So are Patricia J. Bradford (21.20%) and Joseph McCallum, Jr. (25.88%) in a West Ward rundown to succeed retiring Councilman Ronald C. Rice.

Two June 10th runoffs in Newark ward races | Politicker NJ





Shocker of the night: Bayonne appears headed for a runoff

Incumbent Mayor Mark Smith appears headed for a runoff election against vastly underfunded Jimmy Davis.

Smith has 48% to Davis’ 47% with three districts remaining to be counted. 

Zanowic pulled four percent of the vote and is out.

Shocker of the night: Bayonne appears headed for a runoff | Politicker NJ





Democratic Party county establishment stung in Essex and Passaic with victories by Baraka and Torres respectively 

Voters dealt back-to-back body blows to the Democratic Party establishment tonight in Essex and Passaic counties – and to South Jersey.

Running against a candidate supported by Essex County Democratic leader Joe DiVincenzo and financially supported by South Jersey Democratic Leader George Norcross III and his party allies, renegade Councilman Ras Baraka ran to victory tonight on the strength of high voter turnout in his home South Ward.

Running against the Passaic County Democratic Party and State Democratic Party Chairman John Currie, former Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres catapulted himself back into City Hall with an anti-Democratic Party establishment campaign.

Democratic Party county establishment stung in Essex and Passaic with victories by Baraka and Torres respectively | Politicker NJ

Morning Digest: May 14, 2014