Morning News Digest: March 9th

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Tom Barrett’s 2015 Irish American Leaders from New Jersey

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and its month long celebrations and festivities, PolitickerNJ.com once again presents a profiled list of statewide leaders and activists as a salute to New Jersey’s Irish Americans.

The list is an acknowledgement of their accomplishments, contributions and broad range of community service. It includes both veterans of previous lists and newcomers alike, all of whom have demonstrated a commitment to their Irish American heritage. (Barrett/PolitickerNJ)

Tom Barrett’s 2015 Irish American Leaders from New Jersey | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

Menendez on reported corruption allegations: “I am not going anywhere”

NEWARK – On the day a report emerged that the Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal charges against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), alleging that New Jersey’s senior Senator used his office to boost the business interests of a wealthy Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts, Menendez issued a brief statement that was characterized by a willingness to fight any potential corruption charges.

“Let me be very clear: I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law,” said Menendez, a U.S. Senator since 2006 and a fixture of Hudson County politics for decades, in front of a crowd of reporters at the Newark Hilton on Friday. “Every action that I and my office have taken for the 23 years that I have been privileged to serve in the U.S. Congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and of this entire country. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

Menendez on reported corruption allegations: “I am not going anywhere” | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

Hudson Dems back Menendez in face of allegations as they announce 2015 slate

JERSEY CITY – The Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) announced its slate of candidates for state and county office on Friday in a building that took on an unexpectedly ironic meaning: a courthouse.

The Hudson Dems presented a united front behind U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on the day a report emerged that the Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal charges against New Jersey’s senior Senator, alleging that Menendez used his office to boost the business interests of a wealthy Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

Hudson Dems back Menendez in face of allegations as they announce 2015 slate | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

Who would Christie appoint to succeed Menendez?

The news unfolded in real time Friday but the CNN story pinning federal corruption charges on U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N) in one stroke conceivably changed the political game in New Jersey.

Menendez has not been charged.

But if the story is true and Menendez is forced to resign, he would leave an enormous political vacuum and irrevocably alter the landscape. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)

Who would Christie appoint to succeed Menendez? | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

Report: Menendez to face charges in criminal corruption case

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is set to face criminal corruption charges in a federal investigation that alleges he used his senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts, CNN is reporting.

According to the report, sources close to the case allege Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors’ request to proceed with charges, which stem from Menendez’s relationship with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist who the senator has called a friend and political supporter. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)

Report: Menendez to be charged in criminal corruption case | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

 

Cho bows out of 2016 CD 5 race

HACKENSACK – Democrat Roy Cho, the Korean-born attorney who ran an insurgent campaign in 2014 to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5) in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District, announced his decision on Sunday not to run again for the congressional seat in 2016.

“I’ve decided that I’m going to take a pass on running in 2016,” Cho, 33, of Hackensack, told PolitickerNJ on Sunday, noting that he just started a new job at the New York office of the Chicago-based law firm Winston & Strawn as part of its private equity group. “This is a professional decision. After talking to my family, friends and supporters, I think it’s important for me to focus on the professional side of the ledger.” (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)

Cho bows out of 2016 CD 5 race | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

Batista announces his Democratic candidacy for Assembly in LD20

Democratic attorney Jorge Batista of Hillside today officially announced his candidacy for the Assembly in the 20th Legislative District.

“I have a platform that hard working citizens of our great county can relate to,” said Batista. “I will fight any attempt to raise the gas tax and our property taxes. Law enforcement professionals need more funding to hire officers and purchase much needed equipment to protect our residential neighborhoods.  We need more youth and senior programs.” (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)

Batista announces his Democratic candidacy for Assembly in LD20 | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

Fire guts Franklin Twp. legislative office of Assemblyman Danielsen

A fire last night gutted the rooms and caved in the roof of the Franklin Township building housing the legislative offices of Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17).

“My office was two days old office and we had just had the opening office party on Thursday,” Danielsen told PolitickerNJ. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)

Fire guts Franklin Twp. legislative office of Assemblyman Danielsen | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

 

 

New Jersey Transit’s ‘chosen people’

To NJ Transit officials, its riders are “the Chosen People.”

Chosen, that is, to plug any cash gap, which is now at $80 million.

According to Gov. Chris Christie’s budget, officials are now “evaluating a range of savings and revenue-generating options.”

Translation: Fare hikes and service cuts are on their way.

Watchdogs say the uptick in fares could be as much as 25 percent. This is in addition to millions of dollars’ worth of service rollbacks. Such a hit would follow increases of 22 percent, on average, in 2010. (New York Post)

http://nypost.com/2015/03/08/new-jersey-transits-chosen-people/

 

 

With Case hanging Over Menendez, Democrats Lack a Clear Successor

For decades, Senator Robert Menendez has been one of the immovable objects of New Jersey politics. Even now, staring down expected criminal charges, the Democratic lawmaker has vowed not to give way.

“I am not going anywhere,” Mr. Menendez announced at a news conference in Newark on Friday, denying any wrongdoing.

Democrats in New Jersey and Washington take that pledge seriously. In an increasingly diverse state, Mr. Menendez has proved to be a fierce political survivor, rising from local office to the United States Senate thanks to a mastery of political fund-raising and a deft grasp of coalition politics. While rumors of impropriety have swirled around him for years, they did not block his appointment to the Senate in 2005 or seriously hinder his election campaigns in 2006 and 2012. (Burns/New York Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/us/politics/with-case-hanging-over-menendez-democrats-lack-a-clear-successor.html?_r=0

 

 

New Jersey hires lobbying firm to consult on joint base defense

TRENTON — New Jersey has hired a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm to recommend ways that the state can better protect Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and its other military installations from closure or defense cutbacks.

A contract for up to $192,000 was awarded to Cassidy & Associates last month to research the importance of the installations to the economies of the surrounding communities, as well as the role each has on regional and national security. (Levinsky/Burlington County Times)

http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/local/new-jersey-hires-lobbying-firm-to-consult-on-joint-base/article_2e5ab9ad-cf76-5964-b419-48ebf6024923.html

 

 

Sen. Menendez of New Jersey Is Poised to Fight Back Amid Probe

Sen. Bob Menendez has weathered rumors and a previous investigation, and allies say he is confident he will prevail in the latest probe he is facing.

So after news broke Friday that federal investigators were readying criminal charges against the powerful New Jersey Democrat, no one was ready to detail a post-Menendez era.

State Democrats warned that any speculation about possible successors for the battle-tested senator was premature.

Even some Republicans—Gov. Chris Christie included—declined to criticize him, and Mr. Menendez was set to return to Washington on Monday. (Haddon and Dawsey/Wall Street Journal)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/sen-menendez-of-new-jersey-is-poised-to-fight-back-amid-probe-1425862983

Corruption case against Senator Menendez could be tough to make

If federal prosecutors pursue corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez, they will face a difficult — but not impossible — task in making their case. (DeBonis/The Washington Post)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/corruption-case-against-sen-robert-menendez-could-be-tough-to-make/2015/03/07/7af48e7c-c507-11e4-9271-610273846239_story.html

 

 

Key hurdle for prosecution:proving Menendez acted out of more than friendship

To show that Sen. Bob Menendez’s relationship with a prominent donor crossed the line from politics into political corruption, the government faces several hurdles that could make a quick conviction difficult, experienced white-collar defense attorneys say. (Jackson/The Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/news/key-hurdle-for-prosecution-proving-menendez-acted-out-of-more-than-friendship-1.1284614

 

 

Stile: Christie in a role reversal in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — Four years ago, agriculture mogul Bruce Rastetter and six other influential Iowa Republicans flew to New Jersey, hoping to persuade Chris Christie to run for president in 2012. (Stile/The Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/news/stile-christie-in-a-role-reversal-in-iowa-visit-1.1284606

 

 

Jennings column: Franklin mayoral race is becoming one to watch

One of Sussex County’s more interesting elections is shaping up in Franklin, where Mayor Paul Crowley announced Friday he is seeking a third term. (Jennings/The New Jersey Herald)

http://www.njherald.com/story/28290429/2015/03/07/jennings-column-franklin-mayoral-race-is-becoming-one-to-watch

 

Morning News Digest: March 9th