PolitickerNJ News Digest: July 31st

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka
It’s the end of the week, and politics is still going strong in New Jersey, where the next governor’s race is already shaping up and the current governor’s presidential ambitions are still failing to catch fire.
It’s governor or bust for Lesniak in 2017
State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) says it’s guv or bust in 2017.
“I’m not running for reelection,” he told PolitickerNJ. “I’m running for governor.”
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Trump hires Jersey guy as national political director
Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign announced on Thursday the hiring of Somerset County’s Michael Glassner as national political director.
(Max Pizzarro, Politickernj.com)
GOP not happy about Torricelli fundraiser
Hunterdon County Republican Chairman Pat Torpey and Somerset County Republican Chairman Al Gaburo Thursday responded to the news of LD16 Democratic challengers fundraising with former U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
State GOP cautious following Garrett, Potosnak’s remarks
Following New Jersey US Representative Scott Garrett’s (R-5) refusal to hold a fundraiser for a GOP group that allows gay candidates and calls for Franklin Township School Board President Ed Potosnak to step down following his pro-LGBT remarks during a high school commencement speech, state Republicans are continuing to maintain a cautious stance on the issue of gay rights.
(JT Aregood, Politickernj.com)
Traier: Garrett’s comments don’t reflect state GOP
John Traier is the chair of the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization, he is running for election in New Jersey’s 34th legislative district, and he happens to be gay, something which he feels should have no impact on his candidacy. Two weeks ago, Congressman Scott Garret (R-5) made statements about not supporting gay Republicans. At the time, Traier found those statements “hard to believe.”
(Alyana Alfaro, Politickernj.com)
Beson heading O’Malley’s presidential campaign in NJ
Mike Beson, PolitickerNJ’s 2003 Politician of the Year owing to the work he did on the Howard Dean for President campaign, is back in the presidential campaign saddle for 2016.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
West New York Mayor Roque Discusses Son’s New County Job
Joseph Roque, son of embattled West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, has accepted a new position with the Hudson County Department of Roads and Public Property. In 2014, Joseph Roque was sentenced to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service after he hacked the website of one of his father’s political opponents.
(Alyana Alfaro, Politickernj.com)
Planning to vote in November’s assembly election? Don’t expect lines
With no federal or state-wide candidate on the bill for the 2015 New Jersey State Assembly races, many are predicting that polls will see their lowest numbers since 1999. Only a few competitive districts such as the first and second are likely to receive the kind of attention that might draw out reluctant or apathetic voters, and will see the greatest share of campaign spending.
(JT Aregood, Politickernj.com)
Lance issues statement on Garrett comments
In response to criticism of his party on the heels of anti-gay comments made by U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5) made to fellow Republicans, U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) Thursday issued a statement.
(JT Aregood, Politickernj.com)
Do Hudson County Latinos need more representation?
Despite a population that is over 42 percent Hispanic, only two of Hudson County’s 12 towns have Mayors with a Hispanic/Latino background. Though the embattled Mayor Felix Roque of West New York asserts that he is not stepping down despite a scandal that alleges he accepted over $250 thousand in bribes, if the mayor does step down, the county would be left with Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos as the lone Hispanic representative in the highest municipal position.
(Alyana Alfaro, Politickernj.com)


Baraka moves to advance city-run police academy
One life lost is unacceptable, Mayor Ras Baraka told the media and community members in the South Ward Police Station this afternoon. He doesn’t like comparing crime numbers from year to year to discern anything to celebrate or anything that would cause him or his team to lose focus on the utter eradication of violence from his city. But the grassroots-grown Baraka does want greater local authority over how his officers are trained, and how many he can train, and to that end he’s meeting with Acting Attorney General John Hoffman next week to wrangle up a city-operated Newark Police Academy.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
2004 and 2016 in New Jersey: Comparing Dean and Sanders
The early organizing efforts in New Jersey by the allies of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders bring to mind somewhat the campaign for president by another Vermont Democrat over a decade ago.
There are, of course, significant differences, however, between Sanders 2016 and Governor Howard Dean 2004.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Retired trooper running for seat in 14th district
Retired New Jersey State Trooper David Jones wants to talk about the issues. If you sit down with him in a coffee shop in Middlesex County, he avidly discusses the pension system and property taxes and left to his own devices might comfortably stay on those subjects. But ask the 14th Legislative District Republican challenger about the contest in its most raw political terms and Jones also doesn’t mind – figuratively not literally – belting incumbent Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14) in the mouth.
(Max Pizarro, Politickernj.com)
Supreme Court to take up pension case again
The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the state violated hundreds of thousands of government retirees’ rights to pension benefits when it froze annual cost-of-living adjustments.
(Samantha Marcus, NJ.com)
Christie not concerned about debating Trump
Gov. Chris Christie said he isn’t worried about “overcoming” Donald Trump in the first Republican presidential debate next week.
(Brent Johnson, NJ.com)
AG defends Exxon deal in court
Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman on Thursday defended a controversial pollution settlement with Exxon Mobil before the Superior Court judge tasked with approving the deal.
(S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com)
High court sides with Christie in judge recall dispute
New Jersey’s system to recall retired judges temporarily to preside over cases — which has been implemented more often in recent years because of a feud between Gov.Chris Christie and Democratic lawmakers  over judicial appointments — does not violate the state constitution, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
(Brent Johnson, NJ.com)
Christie still dropping in presidential polls
In a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie continues to trail the majority of Republican Party candidates for president, placing 10th overall, with 3 percent support among likely voters.
(Andrew George , NJBiz)
Sorry Cecil, Chris Christie not really concerned
As the Internet continues its assault on Minnesota dentist Dr. Walter J. Palmer for the slaying of Cecil the lion, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has weighed in, saying that the issue isn’t “front burner” for him.
(Nick Vadala, Philly.com)
PolitickerNJ News Digest: July 31st