Winners and Losers: Week of December 8th

Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17) and Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer at Danielsen's New Brunswick fundraiser this week.

Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17) and Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer at Danielsen’s New Brunswick fundraiser this week.

WINNERS

Nilsa Cruz-Perez

South Jersey Democrats tapped the former assemblywoman to replace U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1) in the state senate. Respected on both sides of the aisle, Cruz-Perez made history in 1995 when she became the first Latina to serve in the General Assembly. When she gets sworn into office, she will join state senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Nellie Pou as one of three Latina state senators.

David Hespe

The Senate Education Committee this week approved the acting Department of Education Commissioner for the fulltime position.

Joe Danielsen

Sworn into office on Oct. 16th, the new assemblyman from the 17th District this week held a successful first fundraiser at Panico’s in New Brunswick. Attendees included Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto; Peg Schaffer, veteran chair of the Somerset County Democratic Committee; Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer (D-36), and Assemblyman Joseph Lagana (D-38).

Steve Adubato, Jr.

The veteran broadcaster from NJTV scored simultaneously sit-down interviews with both of New Jersey’s senators: Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.

AS-YET UNDECIDED

John Wisniewski and Kevin O’Toole

The arch rival co-chair of the Select Committee on Investigation and ranking SCI Republican scrapped over the process and findings of the committee’s Bridgegate report, officially released on Monday. O’Toole seized on the occasion to try to make the case that Wisneiwski in his management of the committee has not demonstrated sufficient bipartisanship. Wisneiwski held steadfastly to the report as a thoroughly and fairly researched “interim” document, mostly characterized by unanswered questions about the George Washington Bridge Scandal. Now all eyes remain fixed on the office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

LOSERS

Victor Coca

The feds slapped a bribery charge on the general contractor from West New York. Coca allegedly paid thousands of dollars in bribes to a fire official in exchange for the elimination of outstanding fines and penalties on certain buildings that had fire code violations.

Anthony Davis

The Paterson First Ward Councilman on Dec. 3rd admitted to accepting bribes from a purported developer in exchange for his official help. He subsequently resigned his city council seat.

Chris Christie

The Select Committee on Investigation’s (SCI) Bridgegate report could not find any evidence directly tying Christie to the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures, but a poll presented troubling news to the nascent presidential candidate. New Jersey voters say 53 to 40 percent that Christie would not make a good president, according to Quinnipiac. Republicans say 70 to 21 percent that their governor would do well in the White House, but every other party, gender or age group listed disagrees.

Thomas Leonardis

The former president of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) this week received 22 months in prison for conspiring to extort ILA Local 1235 longshoremen on the New Jersey piers for Christmastime tribute payments, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. The 57-year-old Glen Gardner resident served as president of the union from 2008 through 2011. He previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to Count Three of a second superseding indictment charging him with conspiring to extort Christmastime tributes from ILA Local 1235 members.

Paul Brubaker

The state director for U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a veteran operative who worked as communications director for Bill Pascrell before transitioning in 2012 to serve as Menendez’s communications director, lost his job this week.

Salvatore LaGrasso

On Dec. 2nd, the former longshoreman received 12 months in prison for conspiring to extort others in Local 1235 of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) for Christmastime tribute payments, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced. A former supervisor on the New Jersey piers – the Edison resident previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to conspiring to extort Christmastime tributes from the union members – count three of the second superseding indictment against him. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

Winners and Losers: Week of December 8th