Winners and Losers: Week of the Supreme Court Decision



Bill Pascrell

The Pascrell-led Democrats beat the GOP 5-2 in last night’s Congressional baseball game at National’s Stadium. That’s President Barack Obama pictured above to the right and the 9th Congressional District Congressman (the Dems’ hitting coach and first base coach) on the left. In the words of one insider who attended the game, “Let’s see if we get as lucky on the trade vote,” which they did.

Chris Christie

The Supreme Court sided with the Governor in a decision this week against the public sector unions, a verdict that essentially allowed Christie to wriggle away from the very 2011 Act that he himself signed ensuring public pension payments. To the degree that one can wriggle and simultaneously win, it is one. But, in the words of one baffled insider, “it just seems so crazy that a sitting governor could so blatantly disappear from the state they are tasked with leading, even going so far as to use it’s policies as a chip for higher ambition against all reasonable expectations from the majority of the state’s population. I recognize we live in a cynical time, so I suppose this is just par for the course.  To be clear, I could care less if he runs or not, I’m just surprised at his ability to be consistently elsewhere in advance of budget, gaming arguments, gas tax fixes and just generally governing.  I would suppose they would say it is the technology age so you don’t need to be present, but when you pull your top staff I’m not exactly sure who you are communicating with on the state issues while out campaigning in other states.”

Ras Baraka

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo said he made a mistake when he backed another candidate in the 2014 Newark mayor’s race, the kind of admission that bodes well for Baraka as he looks to future power consolidation.

Keith Hahn

The veteran Edison cop forged a political partnership with a local councilman opposed to the longtime Democratic Party establishment to win the chairmanship of the Edison Democratic Party, a powerful position in advance of the 2017 Democratic Primary for governor.

Robert Diehl

Diehl cut the deal with Hahn to make Hahn chairman in Edison, stepping away from his own run to become a power partner of Hahn and the muscled up influencer of local politics. Watch him now. He’s either a challenger to Lankey for mayor in 2017 or a legislator if the county party organization decides it must work with him to prevent disaster.


Felix Roque

The state Attorney General’s Office this week indicted the mayor of West New York on fraud and bribery charges. Roque already survived one indictment, so maybe he comes back from this, but on the heels of his May reelection this creates internal agonies that have other powerful players hedging their bets with two successor alternatives currently occupying commissioner seats: Cosmo Cirillo and Gabe Rodriguez. Also, consider the interests of two powerful players in their own right in this town: attorney Donald Scarinci and political operative Pablo Fonseco, who regardless of Roque’s political lifespan will likely look to extend their futures either alongside the battling mayor or with other candidates if the town dissolves into another campaign season bloodfest.

Public Sector Unions

Party to a lawsuit against Christie seeking the lawful enactment of Chapter 78, which ensured the full payment of public pensions, the band of unions lost this week when the state Supreme Court ruled 5-2 against them.

Christine Hanlon

The new Monmouth County clerk backed away from the purchase of new office furniture for her office, which would have cost $58,339 after discounts, after the Asbury Park Press began poking around with questions about the expenditure.

Anthony Russomano

The disciple of retiring Edison Democratic Committee Chairman Doc Paterniti this week lost by a heartbreaking 2-vote margin in his bid to succeed his mentor.

Tom Lankey

The Mayor of Edison suffered a political setback when the Democratic Party establishment’s preferred candidate, Russomano, failed in his bid to back down a rebellion led by Hahn and Diehl. Going into the meeting, sources to a person remained convinced that Russomano (who works for Lankey in Town Hall) had the votes. It didn’t work out that way.

  Winners and Losers: Week of the Supreme Court Decision