Morning Digest: June 4, 2014

CD 12 race: a victorious Watson Coleman on Dem primary win: “My hometown showed up”

RENTON – State Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) rejoiced in her victory in the Twelth Congressional District Democratic prmary on Tuesday night, thanking supporters in this world and beyond while looking towards what she hopes will be a final victory in the November general election.

“To God be the glory,” said Watson Coleman in her first words to an estatic crowd of over 100 supporters inside the Lafayette Yards hotel ballroom in Trenton. “I was ready to give one speech, but instead I gave another. This is a big step to climb, but for November we will have time to plan and execute. I thank all my labor support – the Laborers, the Carpenters, SEIU, AFSCME and CWA all came out.”

Flanked by key Mercer County Democratic allies such as Mercer County Democratic Executive Brian Hughes, state Senator Shirley Turner (D-15) and Trenton mayoral candidate Eric Jackson, Watson Coleman, a Ewing resident who counted heavily on the voters of Mercer County and Trenton to help her defeat her main rival in the primary race, Middlesex County-based state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14), expressed gratitude for a key factor in her victory.

“My hometown showed up,” shouted Watson Coleman with a smile as the crowd roared.  (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

CD 12 race: a victorious Watson Coleman on Dem primary win: “My hometown showed up” | Politicker NJ







CD 12 results good for Democratic Party, DeAngelo says 

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14) expressed a bittersweet victory for Democrats following Tuesday’s primary.

The state lawmaker, who endorsed Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14), referred to the numbers that put Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) over the edge to victory in the Democratic primary as “a little shocking.” DeAngelo was one of several lawmakers and officials who expressed an interest in pursuing Greenstein’s state Senate seat if the lawmaker clinched a victory.

However, a victory never materialized for Greenstein.  (Arco/PolitickerNJ)

CD 12 results good for Democratic Party, DeAngelo says | Politicker NJ









Greenstein concedes in CD 12, first campaign loss

NORTH BRUNSWICK – State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) conceded the Democratic primary to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) Tuesday evening.

“I haven’t cried,” Greenstein joked to lighten the mood, thanking about 50 supporters who cheered the state senator as she walked into her election night campaign headquarters.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Bonnie Watson Coleman. I did call to congratulate her,” said Greenstein, adding, “Everyone ran, I think, a pretty fair race.”

Greenstein – who, living in a contested legislative district, is no stranger to tough political fights – thanked her family and supporters while flanked on stage by her Statehouse districtmates, Assemblymen Dan Benson and Wayne DeAngelo.

“This is the first loss I’ve had in a political campaign,” Greenstein said.  (Arco/PolitickerNJ)

Greenstein concedes in CD 12, first campaign loss | Politicker NJ










In New Jersey, a Republican Nominee Will Try to Hold On to a Congressional Seat 

A wealthy insurance executive beat a perennial conservative candidate in the Republican primary in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District Tuesday, a result that may frustrate Democrats hoping to take advantage of its closely divided politics.

And Bonnie Watson Coleman, a state assemblywoman who has been a dogged critic of Gov. Chris Christie, won the most hotly contested of the state’s congressional primaries, putting her on track to become the first African-American woman to represent the state in Congress.

It was an unusually busy Primary Day, with three of the state’s 12 representatives retiring this year, and Republicans choosing a candidate to face Senator Cory A. Booker, who is running for his first full term.  (Zernike/The New York Times) 






Christie nominates two to N.J. Supreme Court

Governor Christie officially filed two nominations for the Supreme Court, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Christie made his choices for the court public at a news conference two weeks ago where he announced an agreement with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester. That agreement appeared to end a long stand-off over the political make up of the Supreme Court.

Superior Court Judge Lee Solomon, a Republican from Camden County, and current Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, a Democrat, will now be considered by the state Senate.

Christie’s office also renominated 12 judges to the Superior Court. The judicial system has been strained with vacancies in recent months. The judges who were renominated had terms that were scheduled to expire in June or July, according to a spokesman with the courts.  (Phillis/The Record) 






Policy analyst Bell wins GOP U.S. Senate race in N.J.; will face Booker in November

Jeff Bell won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, 36 years after he last won a primary election in New Jersey.

Bell will face Democratic Sen. Cory Booker in the general election in November. Bell won the 1978 Republican U.S. Senate primary but went on to lose to Democrat Bill Bradley.

Bell defeated three other Republican candidates, each of them a conservative with little state-wide name-recognition, in a close primary. By 11:30 p.m., Bell had 29.3 percent of the vote.

Richard Pezzullo, of Freehold, was second with 27 percent. Brian Goldberg had 24.3 percent, and 19.5 percent of voters chose Murray Sabrin.

The Associated Press called the race for Bell just after 11 p.m. A few minutes before, Pezzullo released a statement saying he wouldn’t yet concede.

“There are provisional, mail-in, and military ballots still to count in many counties,” he said. “As a veteran myself I want those ballots counted, and based on the results in the few counties that have released those numbers, the election is still yet to be decided.”

Booker, the incumbent, ran in the Democratic primary unopposed.  (Linhorst and Jackson/The Record) 




Bridgegate Committee Zeroes In On Port Authority Mismanagement

Republican legislators who have been urging the Select Committee on Investigation to broaden its focus beyond the George Washington Bridge lane closures got their wish yesterday, as Democrats and Republicans alike grilled Port Authority Commissioner William “Pat” Schuber on how such an array of scandals could have beset the bistate agency.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), the committee’s cochair, led Democrats in questioning the behind-the-scenes machinations of Port Authority staffers in orchestrating the massive 2011 toll hike, as well as the failure of Schuber and other Port Authority higher-ups to dig into the reasons for the lane closures as the Bridgegate scandal unfolded between September and January.

Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth) led Republicans in zeroing in on the Port Authority’s questionable payments to an architect for unsolicited work, excessive real estate holdings in Jersey City, conflict of interest policies, failure to adequately pursue reports of ethics violations, and the wisdom of doling out special grants to municipalities instead of using whatever money is available for needed airport and infrastructure repairs.

It marked the first time since the formation of the committee more than four months ago that the panel’s four Republican legislators devoted their energies not to defending the Christie administration’s response to Bridgegate and questioning the purpose of the committee, but to aggressively going after Port Authority mismanagement — which they have been arguing should be the panel’s primary focus.  (Magyar/NJSpotlight) 





Watson Coleman Win Sets Stage for NJ’s First Black Women in Congress

Yesterday’s primary all but guaranteed that New Jersey will have its first female Congressional representative in more than a decade, and first black woman ever, with Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s win in the 12th District Democratic primary.

Camden-area voters also took the first step toward choosing their first new representative since 1990, and Burlington and Ocean Republicans picked the more moderate of two GOP candidates to replace their retiring Congressman in a district that two national political reports say Democrats have a chance of winning in November.

At the top of the ballot, Republican voters chose the man who unseated New Jersey’s last elected GOP Senator in 1978, but went on to lose the general election, to wage an uphill battle to try to unseat freshman U.S. Sen. Cory Booker in November.

Unofficial election returns show turnout was very low across most of the state as generally Democrats and Republicans alike sat out the mostly ho-hum contests for the nominations for the Senate and a dozen seats in the House of Representative. About 12 percent of Democrats statewide went to the polls, and about 15 percent of Republicans, county turnout figures show. (Detailed results of primaries across the state are available online.)  (O’Dea/NJSpotlight) 





5 things we learned from Tuesday’s primary elections

TRENTON — Here are five things we learned from Tuesday night’s primary elections:

1. It’s hard to predict a statewide primary race when nobody knows who the candidates are.

Jeff Bell won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate last night to take on Democrat Cory Booker in November. Few — maybe not even Bell — saw it coming. But then again, it wasn’t a shocker because all of Bell’s opponents — Richard Pezzullo, Brian Goldberg and Murray Sabrin — were virtually unknown to New Jersey voters. There was barely any public polling on the race and the candidates raised almost no money.

2. The U.S. Senate race this year between Booker and Bell won’t look anything like last year’s U.S. Senate race between Booker and Steve Lonegan.

Steve Lonegan, the conservative firebrand, was caustic in his campaign against Booker, lobbing accusations one day, insults the other. Bell, by contrast, is a soft-spoken policy wonk.

3. The tea party is cooling off in New Jersey.

In 2010, tea party-backed Anna Little surprised New Jersey politics watchers by beating the wealthy Diane Gooch, who had Republican Party support in the shore-based 6th Congressional District. This year, further south in the 3rd Congressional District, Lonegan — supported by the tea party and Sarah Palin — ran against the wealthy Tom MacArthur, who had Republican organizational support. MacArthur won — easily.

4. Congressional primaries are hard to predict.

Who knew? Virtually everyone thought the 12th District Democratic primary for Congress would be a neck-and-neck race between state Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-mercer) and Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex). It wasn’t even close. Watson Coleman won nearly 43 percent of the vote to Greenstein’s 28 percent. The third and fourth place candidates — Upendra Chivukula and Andrew Zwicker — both did better than expected, with 22 percent and 7 percent, respectively.  (Friedman/Star-Ledger)

Read the full article by clicking the link below. 







 NJ congressional races: MacArthur, Watson Coleman win tight primary battles

TRENTON — Tom MacArthur, the millionaire former mayor of Randolph, defeated conservative firebrand Steve Lonegan on Tuesday in a fiercely contested Republican primary fight between two North Jersey transplants seeking to replace a South Jersey congressman.

In the state’s other tight congressional primary, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) won the Democratic nomination for a Central Jersey seat — and the chance to become New Jersey’s first female member of the House of Representatives in more than a decade.

Across New Jersey, the nine incumbents running for re-election easily won their primaries and are expected to regain their seats in November.

The 3rd District race for the seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan was one of the state’s nastiest races this year. At one point, Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, called MacArthur a “monster” over allegations that his insurance company played a part in shortchanging California wildfire victims. MacArthur characterized Lonegan, who lost to Cory Booker in the state’s special U.S. Senate election last year, as bitter.

MacArthur, a 53-year-old former insurance executive, put more than $2 million of his own money into the race, accounting for more than 99 percent of his donations. He was endorsed by Runyan and most of the elected officials and party leaders around the district, which covers parts of Burlington and Ocean County.  (Johnson/Star-Ledger) 





From the Back Room


Eagleton hosting primary results panel discussion

PolitickerNJ’s Matt Arco will take part in a panel discussion today centered on the recent primary elections hosted by Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Recent Posts from The Back Room | Politicker NJ






Election results

Here are the election results reported by the Associated Press.  (Arco/PolitickerNJ)

Election results | Politicker NJ







At least 3 incumbents win their primary elections

Congressional incumbents in at least three districts clinched primary elections Tuesday night.

U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo (R-1), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) and Donald Payne Jr. (D-10) were declared winners of their respective primaries an hour after polls closed, according to the Associated Press.

LoBiondo was challenged by Mike Assad. Frelinghuysen was challenged by Rick Van Glahn and Payne won against Robert Toussaint, Aaron Fraser and Curtis Vaughn.  (Arco/PolitickerNJ)

At least 3 incumbents win their primary elections | Politicker NJ





Rain, rain, go away?

The skies over Trenton opened up Tuesday afternoon.

A thunderstorm rolled across the state’s capital city Tuesday shortly before 4 p.m. as voters head to the polls to tap a Democratic hopeful to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12).

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s path to victory hinges on, in part, substantial voter turnout in Trenton.

Rain, rain, go away? | Politicker NJ






U.S. closes case against Rob Andrews, report says 

A federal inquiry into former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D-1) has been dismissed, according to published reports.

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a watchdog group’s complaint that a former member of Congress used campaign contributions for personal expenses, according to WHYY.

Andrews resigned earlier this year and took a job with a law firm.

U.S. closes case against Rob Andrews, report says | Politicker NJ  

Morning Digest: June 4, 2014