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Author Archive: Jeff Gardner
Once upon a time, when I was a candidate (last year, don’t ask), I benefited from New Jersey’s netroots power more than I and many others could have imagined, with something called a Money Bomb. And, last week, that same power of New Jersey’s netroots did it again, uniting to catapult LD-16 Assembly candidate Marie Corfield into the national spotlight, landing her the top spot in the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s list of “Essential Races.” (That’s pretty high praise from the DLCC, considering they’re the organization responsible for electing Democrats to state legislatures nationwide!)
But what good is that national title if we don’t follow up? I guess that’s what Democracy for America thought (DFA was an early endorser of Marie after all), because landing in my inbox this week was an email from DFA’s national headquarters aiming to leverage last week’s win, asking for folks to contribute to Marie’s campaign:
Marie stood up for what was right and people across the state are rallying around her. Now, let’s put her over the top against a Tea Party Republican who voted against funding for women’s health care, raising the minimum wage, and equal pay for equal work for women.
Some of you may have also received that email, many of you may not have. But, it reminded me how far small contributions from many supporters can go. If everyone who nominated Marie to help her win the DLCC honor took a moment to contribute just $20 to Marie Corfield’s campaign, she could quickly close the gap in cash-on-hand in her race. It could easily be the difference between winning and losing.
Marie can win this race if she has the resources, and we have her back. That’s why I hope you’ll Contribute to Marie Corfield this year, like so many of you contributed to me last year.
It really will make all the difference!
Fired up and ready for Joe? Looking for a place to channel your spare Joe-mentum after last night’s debate? Well, there is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity for New Jersey Democrats this year, and I hope we sieze it.
Sure, the Presidential race is huge. Yes, Senator Menendez’s race is must-win. Absolutely, we need to protect our House Democratic incumbents. You betcha, it would be awesome to pull out the upset in NJ-3 or NJ-7 (or NJ-11 or NJ-5 or NJ-2 or NJ-4). But, the best bang for our collective bucks (and boots) is in a truly “special” election this year. Some might even call it an “essential race” – and we can win it:
It’s Marie Corfield’s LD-16 Assembly race. And redistricting has made this District utterly winnable for Democrats. (Seriously – see for yourself below the fold, President Obama’s convincing 10,000+ vote win in 2008 in the towns that make up the new LD-16.) You know what year is most likely to mirror the results of 2008? This year!
But, this race is about more than one Assembly seat. LD-16 is also where Senator Kip Bateman serves – by most accounts, the next-most-likely Republican to vote in favor of marriage equality (which needs only 3 more votes to override the Christie veto) and to vote to override the Governor’s other outrageous vetoes. When Marie shows that Democrats can win in LD-16, Bateman may just have the excuse he needs to stand up to Christie, and stand with his constituents.
And, if Bateman comes on board, how long until his other Assembly-mate, and other once-moderate Republicans around the state, also realize it’s in their own interest to stand up to the Governor? Not very. (And, for the record: if Bateman comes on board, the Democratic caucus alone will have the ability to override.)
So – this is a shout out to 2 audiences, from humble me (and just me – I have no role, formal or otherwise, with the Corfield campaign):
First, to each and every Democratic Legislator throughout the state – none of whom have contested elections this year, and almost all of whom are quite safe next year – please join Senators Loretta Weinberg, Bob Smith and Barbara Buono, and Assemblymembers Sheila Oliver, Upendra Chivukula, John Wisniewski, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Valerie Huttle, Jason O’Donnell, Reed Gusciora, Dan Benson and Troy Singleton – all of whom have already done so – and send Marie a check!
And second, to the entire Blue Jersey community, to join me and hundreds of others in giving just a small amount of your time and/or your money to support a strong, smart, progressive woman – exactly the kind of Democrat we want to see get elected everywhere. And deliver a crushing blow to Governor Christie ahead of next year’s election.
Today’s jobs numbers are huge great news: the unemployment rate fell to 7.8% in September from 8.1% in August. This is the lowest level since President Obama took office in January 2009, and a continuation of the slow and steady downward trend of our national unemployment rate. Huge.
Diving in to the numbers: U.S. payrolls increased by a seasonally adjusted 114,000 jobs in September. Meanwhile, the August and July payroll numbers were revised up-August payrolls rose 142,000 compared with the initially reported 96,000, and July was up 181,000 versus an earlier estimate of 141,000. Do the math, and that equals a total of 200,000 new jobs we found out about today. Great.
But, apparently, math is hard for Republicans. And, great news for the American economy is bad news for their presidential candidate. So, this same GOP which has treated previous monthly job numbers like scripture, is now claiming that the numbers don’t add up and can’t be true and must be some conspiracy. For the GOP, facts are even harder than math.
Which brings us to the Jersey comeback. Today’s Jobs Report Deniers are taking a page right out of the Chris Christie playbook – if you don’t like the numbers, blame the math; if you don’t like the facts, blame the messenger.
But, the numbers and the facts don’t lie: while our national unemployment numbers have been consistently inching their way down under the President’s leadership, New Jersey’s unemployment numbers have been consistently rising under the Governor’s. And not just to 8% or 9%, but to a staggeringly high, almost 10% unemployment rate here in the Comeback state.
That’s great news for America, and terrible news for New Jersey. Add it up.
This week, national Presidential polling has become more and more fun to watch, with President Obama’s national and swing state numbers looking pretty good for the Blue Team. And, locally, this was a pretty interesting week in polling right here in New Jersey too.
For starters, a fierce battle is on between our two statewide contenders – Barack Obama and Bob Menendez – over who will beat their opponent by more. According to the latest Monmouth/Asbury Park Poll, the two are currently deadlocked, both up by 15%, with Obama (52-37) winning the tie-breaker over Menendez (49-34) by surpassing the 50% threshold. It’s only a matter of time before Governor Christie throws in the towel for Joe Kyrillos’s chance to win here, as he already has for Mitt Romney.
But, the more interesting polling came later in the week (also from Monmouth), when the poll asked about the Governor, the Legislature and the field of nine potential 2013 Democratic challengers to a Christie second term. On these questions, there’s a lot of bad news for the Blue Team. Short version: the Governor is up (54-34), the Legislature is down (32-42), and most of our potential challengers remain little known.
One silver lining – if you can call it that – is that despite the bad numbers for our Democratic Legislature, only about one-third of respondents had ever heard of Senate President Steve Sweeney, and fewer than one-fourth had ever heard of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. And, both of them (along with almost every other potential candidate) had net positive ratings themselves! I’m not sure what that says about how well-informed the respondents were.
But, taking it all in, I know this: polling matters, but not all polling matters the same. For most New Jersey Democrats, the 2012 election cannot come soon enough, and the 2013 election feels like it’s coming way too soon.
It’s a frequent refrain for Democracy for America supporters like myself; widely attributed to Lotte E. Scharfman, a former President of the League of Women Voters of MA; and this week – it showed up in the mailboxes of NJ’s DNC2012 Delegates, courtesy of prolific swag-giver, and future statewide candidate-for-something, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
I guess it can now be officially declared that the brick city Mayor is a “rock” star. And, credit where it’s due, I love my new inspirational paperweight.
Now, we can only hope New Jersey democrats translate this into the call to action it should be – not only to reelect our President, U.S. Senator and Congressional incumbents, but to do what it takes for our Congressional Challengers, our Legislative Candidates, and the down-ballot candidates who form our bench for the future.
An interesting contrast has developed this week heading into next week’s GOP convention – one that divides the two New Jersey governors named Christie.
On one hand, we have current Governor Christie: “rising star” of the GOP, darling of the national media, improbably embraced by the Tea Party, and while passed over by Mitt Romney for the Veep nomination, a man who seems perfectly comfortable with his Republican party.
On the other hand, we have former Governor Christie (Whitman): former “rising star” of the GOP, former darling of the national media, thoroughly rejected by the Tea Party, and though once chosen by President Bush to head the EPA, a woman who is so uncomfortable with what had once been her Republican party that she won’t be attending next week’s GOP convention
According to Whitman: “I’m kind of out of step with people who are controlling the rhetoric of the party at this moment.”
Contrast that with our current Governor, as he marches in lock step with that same party, preparing for his star turn in next week’s keynote address. The difference speaks volumes about the current state of the GOP, even before Christie utters his first word.
When Mitt Romney’s campaign leaked the news last Friday evening that he was going to choose as his running mate Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan – Tea Party hero and architect of the GOP plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program – all I could think was, “gee, I thought only bad news got leaked on Friday nights.”
And bad news it has been in New Jersey, especially for Republican Senate Candidate Joe Kyrillos, who is now faced with defending Ryan’s radical budget plans to a moderate-to-liberal New Jersey electorate, or calling out the top of the ticket for being too extreme for the Garden State (and taking heat from conservatives).
In less than a week Romney’s bold boldness in going bold with the bold pick of Paul Ryan has seen little to no bounce nationally, and has been a disaster here in the Garden State.
Of course, it could have been worse. He could have chosen Governor Christie, a.k.a., Governor 9.8%, b.k.a. the Unemployment Governor. The media may overlook Christie’s abysmal record on jobs for his star turn as the GOP Convention keynote speaker in two weeks. But, let’s face it, had he been the nominee, with the glare of a national media paying closer attention, there would be no hiding from the fact that the “Jersey Comeback” is a sham, hiding behind a curtain, waiting to be exposed.
No one seriously believes Christie was bypassed because he wouldn’t resign his position as Governor – it’s a little embarrassing that they’re even trying to stand by that canard. Maybe just maybe, it was New Jersey’s jobs numbers that led Romney to instead pick a Tea Party darling as his running mate. Even if it meant burying the news on a Friday night.
WTF?! Seriously, what in heaven is going on in New Jersey this summer with all the arrests of sitting politicians?
I’ve had the good fortune to do some traveling this summer, so I’ve had the opportunity to look away from the day-to-day drama of NJ politics. But every time I turn my head back to the Garden State, someone else is getting arrested. Fraud, invasion of privacy, check-kiting(!), driving while impaired (or not), bribes, scandal, the list goes on.
It’s no wonder so many non-political friends of mine are so quick to say all politicians are crooks. I know they’re not. I know some of the best people I know- the salt of the earth – are in politics.
So, I’m left to wonder – is it just the public nature of political arrests that make it seem like they happen disproportionately? Is there something about our elected officials? Something about the job that makes people go crazy? Our something else? I can’t decide. Anybody else have thoughts?
Morning all – hope you enjoyed the lightning – be careful out there.
While Rosi visits the Whitehouse (send pictures!), someone has to round up the day’s news. So, here goes …
- Don’t know if you heard, but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was upheld by the United States Supreme Court yesterday.
- A flurry of Press Releases issued from NJ Legislators with their reactions to the SCOTUS decision. And, as always, NJ.com reported how ordinary Jerseyans react.
- Among the more notable legislative press releases came from Sen. Nia Gill, who is reintroducing legislation to create a New Jersey insurance exchange pursuant to the law, and saying we better hurry. Predictably, Gov. Christie would rather we drag our collective feet.
- Oh, and last but not least, please stop calling it Obamacare – because, as NJ politics alum Steve Kornacki points out, voters LOVE the Affordable Care Act, even while not so much loving “Obamacare.” Words matter again!
Higher Ed Reorganization
- “Despite significant public opposition and incomplete cost estimates,” both the Senate and Assembly approved the merger formerly known as Rut-Row with bi-partisan support, and over bi-partisan opposition (which alone would make it historic).
- True confessions: I think the reorganization plan has amazing potential. Truly transformational potential. But, kudos to Sen. Bob Smith, who represents the New Brunswick-Piscataway area and its large Rutgers community, for strongly objecting to the objectively objectionable process. Someone explain to me why the rush.
- Broken clock alert: did anyone else think Murray Sabrin made some good points here?
Our Busy Legislature
- It’s baaaack. Standing firm against his threats to veto it again, the Legislature is sending Governor Christie a millionaire’s tax. Good.
- Handheld gambling devices OK’d for casino guests. Just don’t bet on sporting events here, because that’s very bad and no one does it.
- Speaking of bad things that no one does, or needs to do, Chris Christie threatens to veto a pot legalization bill for the exact same reason that he wants to willfully ignore to promote sports betting. Up is still down, but Jersey’s own Jon Stewart will still be hilarious.
I’m sure I missed plenty, with these big stories dominating the news cycle, this oppressive heat, the weekend beckoning, and of course, Magic Mike opening tonight. (Oops, did I say that out loud?) So, tell me in the comments what else mattered, and maybe I’ll promote it.