Our triumphant hero returns to NJ: After a week in Washington, D.C. and Scottsdale, AZ, (land of ultra expensive and reclusive retreats used by pharmaceuticals and other big spenders), Christie has completed a Wall Street Journal stint with CEO’s, wears the crown of the Republican Governors Association chairmanship and hobnobbed with former President George W. Bush. What dispels any notion that he is not seriously seeking the presidency is the veritable who’s who of key aids who accompanied him. As mentioned in a Star-Ledger article surrounding him was:
“Bill Palatucci, re-election campaign chairman and political confidante; Mike DuHaime, political strategist; Bill Stepien, two time campaign manager, Maria Comella, deputy chief of staff for communications and planning; David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a founding partner at Wolff & Samson, the powerful West Orange law firm; and Jeff Chiesa, Christie’s pick for attorney general and a recent five-month stint filling the U.S. Senate seat won by Cory Booker. Samson and Chiesa ran Christie’s 2009 transition team.”
These heavy-hitters will be playing the leading roll in his quest for coronation as our next President. Another person at his side was Cam Henderson, Executive Director of Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which further dispels the idea that this charity was not a political tool. Big donors to that fund knew they were currying favor with Christie, but many small donors were innocently concerned with helping those afflicted.
A coming-out Party for Kim Guadagno: Our LG during the election campaign (and the prior three years) was relegated to ribbon-cutting, chamber of commerce, and corporate affairs and largely ignored by the press. With Christie out of town she sat this week at the dais and gave an important speech at the League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City. She joked about the fact that three years ago she was provided a chair in the rear of the room. This week she was up front and prominent while she promoted Christie’s plan to push for an income tax decrease, an important component of his presidential bid regardless of whether it gains passage.
Senate President Steve Sweeney after taking a well-deserved State-wide victory lap following the successful legislative Democratic wins in the recent election was also prominent at the League’s convention. His response to Guadagno’s call for an income tax reduction was essentially, “Show me the money.” As Christie has done a poor job with our economy it is highly unlikely that there willl be the funds needed to finance such a cut. Sen. Sweeney who proved far more clever than Republican Tom Kean, Jr. during the General Election race is now increasingly viewed as the man to beat in the next Democratic gubernatorial primary.
So for the future we will have a governor less focussed on our state and best known for his peripatetic absence, a more prominent LG carrying out his wishes and laying the groundwork for her own gubernatorial campaign, and a Senate strongman leading the Democratic agenda while also seeking higher office.
Other events today: Gov. Chris Christie winds down his tour joining others in Phoenix in a discussion on combating human trafficking. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno participates in the Monmouth County court system’s National Adoption Day event, 1:45pm in Freehold. Princeton Dream Team and IRATE & First Friends hold a press conference at Noon outside the immigration detention facility at 625 Evans St. in Elizabeth to annnounce the release of German Perez, a member of the community, breadwinner and father to US citizen children from immigration detention in order to pursue a claim for asylum. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. speaks at Maple Place Middle School in Oceanport at 10:45 a.m. to mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.