Author Archive: huntsu

Is Menendez The Choice?

The Fix — a political blog for the Washington Post — is reporting that Congressman Menendez rushed back from vacation to meet with Governor-elect Corzine.

Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) interrupted a trip to Puerto Rico over the weekend to return to the Garden State to meet with Gov.-elect. Jon Corzine (D), according to several knowledgeable sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the meeting.

The sources would not discuss the nature of the meeting, though it seems likely to have been centered on Menendez’s possible appointment to the remaining year of Corzine’s Senate term.  Many informed New Jersey observers expect Corzine to announce his pick this week. Menendez has been mentioned as the likely pick, though Reps. Rob Andrews, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone are also in the mix.

Menendez’s political opponents — both within the Democratic Party and in the GOP — appear to be circulating negative stories about him in the press, such as a New York Times article from last week that mentioned Menendez’s relationship with a top aide.

Earlier I posted a link to an Inside Edge piece wondering about money Corzine had given to Albio Sires, widely considered Menendez’s successor should one be necessary.  But XpatT noted that Air America was saying Nia Gill was to get the nod.

At this point it is all quesswork and supposition.  I still think Juan Melli should get it.  Anyone who sets up a weekly political happy hour is definitely suitable for the US Senate, but that’s just me. 

I included a poll for the fun of it after the fold.  Vote for who you THINK will get it, not who you WANT to get it.  I included Mr. Melli!  If you choose OTHER, please say who it is in the comments.

Did Corzine Tip His Hand?

The Inside Edge has a scoop:

In August, Governor-elect Jon Corzine contributed $2,600 to Albio Sires’ campaign for Congress — a campaign that only takes place if Corzine appoints Bob Menendez to the United States Senate. Corzine gave Sires $500 on August 7th and then another $2,100 eleven days later.

Could mean nothing, but could be telling.


Update: Thinking on this, it seems sort of odd.  If this contribution had been public prior to the election it would have set off all kinds of firestorms.  The Republicans would have gone nuts, saying Corzine had made up his mind and refused to be honest with the public.  Also, it would have played into their “Boss of Bosses” theme.

Southern NJ Democrats would have gone nuts that Corzine was hiding this from them just to keep their support, and maybe have stayed home/withheld support on election day.  Progressives would have had the same sort of pique because Payne, Pallone and Holt were blown off.

It just made no sense for him to tip his hand that early.  There was too much risk.

However, why else make the contribution unless to make the point that Menendez was his guy?  That money would have been just as helpful to a Congressional run now as it was then.  Sires isn’t spending any cash at this point for Congress.  He didn’t need the money then as opposed to now unless it was a promise.

Making the contribution — unless there are others out there we don’t know about — was pretty risky.  If he picks Menendez now, it will start a new round of weak press releases from GOP chair Tom Wilson.

Blue 7th Calls On Ferguson to Return Dirty Money

Blue 7th PAC called today for Congressman Mike Ferguson (NJ7) to return a $1,000 contribution he received from convicted felon Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Cunningham pled guilty today to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004. Cunningham also resigned his Congressional seat in disgrace.

Ferguson is tied financially with the three main criminal corruption probes currently facing the Congress.  He has:

  • Received $54,403 over seven years from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), indicted for money laundering and conspiracy to violate Texas campaign finance laws;
  • Contributed $27,000 in 2004 to House candidates from Texas supported by Tom DeLay;
  • Received $1000 from Randy Cunningham in 2004, who pled guilty today;
  • Received $132,000 in 2001 from a Retaining Our Majority Program fundraiser coordinated by Jim Ellis, Tom DeLay’s treasurer and co-defended for money laundering and conspiracy to violate Texas campaign finance laws;
  • Received $1000 in 2001 from Jack Abramoff, indicted for wire fraud and conspiracy in a case involving mob-style executions and floating casinos;
  • Received $1000 in 2001 from Adam Kidan, indicted with Jack Abramoff for wire fraud and conspiracy.

In late September Abby Bird, Ferguson’s spokeswoman, was quoted in The Express Times saying that Ferguson refused to return the DeLay money.  Bird was also quoted in an August Asbury Park Press article that Ferguson would keep the Abramoff contributions, as well.

You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me

On the way in to work today I heard a new Forrester ad that said (paraphrased):

With polls showing Doug Forrester surging in the polls, Jon Corzine has resorted to lying.

No poll for two weeks has Forrester closer than six points, and the most recent three have him behind by 7, 7 and 9 points.

Looks like Forrester is the one lying.

New Survey USA Poll

Survey USA has Corzine 49, Forrester 41

So this month we have the following:

10/3: Zogby: Corzine leading by 9 points
10/6: Rasmussen: Corzine leading by 7 points
10/9: Eagleton: Corzine leading by 7 points
10/10: Marist: Corzine leading by 2 points
10/11: FDU: Corzine leading by 8 points
10/11; Strategic Vision: Corzine leading by 6 points
10/14: SurveyUSA: Corzine leading by 8 points

I think that the “candidate in free fall” meme should pretty much be dead at this point.  Especially since back in July and August FDU had Corzine with a 7 point lead and Rasmussen had him at 8.  This is actually a remarkably consistent race with just a few outliers: the 2 of Marist, the 4 of Quinippiac, and the 18 of Eagleton.