Author Archive: kwilkinson

Two appointments or one?

Someone told me that if Corzine appoints a sitting congressman to fill his seat for the remainder of his term, then he also has to appoint someone to fill the congressional seat for the remainder of that term (unless he calls a special election, which I suppose we might be weary of by now).  Then if he picks a state senator or assemblyperson, I guess it goes to the party org. of the county.  

Do two appointments to federal office look to anyone like a little too much ‘imperial’ power (as G.F. Will referred to the NJ governorship recently)?

Are there obvious choices behind Menendez, Andrews, Holt and Pallone that are progressive and could diversify the congressional delegations?  Is there any hope of showing independence for such an appointment or is this influence that party heavyweights are waiting for?  

Middlesex power broker Lynch’s offices raided by FBI

AP reports that Lynch is under FBI investigation for billboard deals. This is one for Middlesex and Monmouth to follow.

Law enforcement agents on Wednesday raided a Tinton Falls office a powerful former president of the state Senate shares with a real estate developer linked to billboard deals that have been the subject of a federal investigation…

Published reports earlier this year said a federal grand jury had subpoenaed records on Lynch’s deals with Westlake, and linked both to an investigation into whether two former high-ranking McGreevey aides used their political influence to illegally profit from a private billboard business.

Lynch served in the state Legislature from 1982 through 2001 and was Senate president from 1990-92. He also served as mayor of New Brunswick for 12 years.

Senate statistics on minorities and women

Out of 100 senators,

Sitting senators:
African american:  1
Asian american:  2
Hispanic american: 2
Native american:  0

African american:  4
Asian american:  3
Hispanic american: 3
Native american:  3

There are 14 sitting women senators, 33 throughout history including now.

Here are there names and dates of service, from the Senate’s Minorities page:

No surprise that the number from New Jersey is zero!!!

African Americans:

Hiram R. Revels (R-Mississippi), 1870-71
Blanche K. Bruce (R-Mississippi), 1875-1881
Edward W. Brooke (R-Massachusetts), 1967-1979
Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Illinois), 1993-1999
Barack Obama (D-Illinois), 2005-

Asian Americans:

Hiram L. Fong (R-Hawaii), 1959-1977
Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), 1963-
Samuel I. Hayakawa (R-California), 1977-1983
Spark M. Matsunaga (D-Hawaii), 1977-1990
Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), 1990-

Hispanic Americans:

Octaviano Larrazolo (R-New Mexico), 1928-29
Dennis Chavez (D-New Mexico), 1935-1962
Joseph M. Montoya (D-New Mexico), 1964-77
Ken L. Salazar (D-Colorado), 2005-
Melquiades R. Martinez (R-Florida), 2005-

Native American Indian:

Charles Curtis (R-Kansas), 1907-13; 1915-29 (Kaw)
Robert Owen (D-Oklahoma), 1907-1925 (Cherokee)
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), 1993-2005 (Northern Cheyenne)

and from the page on women:

Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-Georgia), 1922
Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-Arkansas), 1931-1945
Rose McConnell Long (D-Louisiana), 1936-1937
Dixie Bibb Graves (D-Alabama), 1937-1938
Gladys Pyle (R-South Dakota), 1938-1939
Vera Cahalan Bushfield (R-South Dakota), 1948
Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine), 1949-1973
Eva Kelley Bowring (R-Nebraska), 1954
Hazel Hempel Abel (R-Nebraska), 1954
Maurine Brown Neuberger (D-Oregon), 1960-1967
Elaine S. Edwards (D-Louisiana), 1972
Muriel Humphrey (D-Minnesota), 1978
Maryon Allen (D-Alabama), 1978
Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kansas), 1978-1997
Paula Hawkins (R-Florida), 1981-1987
Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), 1987-
Jocelyn Burdick (D-North Dakota), 1992
Dianne Feinstein (D-California), 1993-
Barbara Boxer (D-California), 1993-
Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Illinois), 1993-1999
Patty Murray (D-Washington), 1993-
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), 1993-
Olympia Jean Snowe (R-Maine), 1995-
Sheila Frahm (R-Kansas), 1996
Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), 1997-
Susan Collins (R-Maine), 1997-
Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), 1999-
Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York), 2001-
Deborah Stabenow (D-Michigan), 2001-
Maria E. Cantwell (D-Washington), 2001-
Jean Carnahan (D-Missouri), 2001- 2002
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), 2002-
Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina), 2003-

This is a pretty sorry state of affairs, and New Jersey’s is sorrier than most.  For everyone who says to me, just be patient or minorities and women need to start at the bottom and work their way up,  I say how much longer, 4 years, 8 years, 10 years???  We have a glass ceiling for women at the state senate level (at least for Democrats). The time for waiting is over.  If Corzine has the chance to appoint a progressive woman or minority, that will be an opportunity to put right the injustices of the past.  To my friends who are running scared of Thomas Kean Jr., I say have confidence that we will have a winning candidate in ’06 and encourage Corzine to practice the ‘politics of inclusion’.

Mainstream media, the last debate & the “NY Times front page”

Just watched the final ‘gloves off’ debate.

I am sick, sick, sick of NBC, the NY Times, and Star Ledger!

The moderator stunk.  Aired 4 negative ads for discussion purposes, which just ended up being a bruising repetition of what we’ve been reading here.  The NBC reporters who asked Forrester if he had an affair should be ashamed of themselves. And the 11pm news that ran it as a LEAD story.

For every time Forrester defended his running the Joanne Corzine ad with the fact that it was off the NY Times front page, I swear I’m going to go out and convince someone to cancel their subscription (which commits me to two so far, I don’t subscribe).  I just CAN’T BELIEVE they gave her the coverage, so that he could use it.  EVEN THE NY POST ran it in their gossip column!!! Cheerleaders for the Iraq war and proud to try to manipulate elections.

(crossposted at

Kean Jr claims he’ll start campaigning for senate on Nov 9

From the Hill:

New Jersey state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R) said yesterday that he would begin running in earnest for the Senate seat starting the day after Election Day, which will involve stepping up his fundraising efforts and his public profile.

His third qtr. FEC filing lists him as having $767,935 on hand as of Sept 30.

Kean anticipates that the race will cost between $12 million and $15 million.

Looks like we’re not going to get much of a break in campaign season.

Trying to get my head around newspaper endorsements

Yesterday the Star Ledger endorsed Forrester.

obscenely high property taxes — highest per capita in the nation — are only a symptom of the chronic illnesses that infect New Jersey: an antiquated tax structure, runaway spending and a culture of corruption that rewards the politically connected.

With reservations, we have come to believe that Republican Doug Forrester is the shock therapy the state needs.

They think Forrester will stand up against the corruption and Corzine won’t, despite track records showing the reverse:  Forrester’s involvement with state contracts and Corzine’s standing up to the Bergen County Dem chair over Loretta Weinberg’s state senate seat.

And today they endorsed Jun Choi for mayor of Edison.

Our pick is Choi. … he is an energetic and determined politician, as evidenced by his convincing argument to the township council to support an ordinance limiting pay-to-play political contributions.

Moreover, Choi’s polish and persuasiveness can help attract the high-tech companies Edison needs to restore its industrial tax base.

I can’t seriously imagine anyone going to the polls voting for Choi and Forrester. I suggest the editorial board rethink their endorsement of Forrester.  It outdoes even the NY Times endorsement of Bloomberg (which they have not chosen to keep up on their website – you have to pay to read it).

Polls and bringing NJ politics into the 20th century

If Corzine has to make an appointment of someone to his senate seat, I see the interim appointment  as a great chance to give an opportunity to someone who isn’t an established politician and to reach out to women and/or minorities.

Are progressives happy with the fact that there are no women in the congressional delegation or holding statewide office?  Polls of which congressman is preferred for the seat are useful, but I’d like to also consider ‘none of the above.’

Is anyone else for nudging state politics into the 20th century?

Based on the earlier poll having only congressmen on it, here’s my companion poll question:

Miers Withdraws!

Beleaguered by conservative critics, White House Counsel Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination today for a Supreme Court seat.

Now who’s W going to come with?

If I were Sandra Day O’Connor, I would be pretty upset right now.  I wonder if she’s going to end up serving the whole term.  Does anybody else think like my conspiracy-minded friends, that W picked Miers on purpose, knowing she wouldn’t make it to the court?

Question 1, Lieutenant Governor’s post

The Star Ledger endorsed voting against creating a lt. gov post, saying

The ballot measure is almost impossible to understand. Much of the amendment and the accompanying interpretive statement deals with what will happen in the period of time before the first lieutenant governor is on a statewide ballot, 2009, if the governor leaves office. Nor does it tell voters that when a lieutenant governor is elected, he will serve only until the next available election. That information is contained in enabling legislation enacted in Trenton.

NOTE the assumption that the will be a ‘he’.  

Last week they highlighted the same point:

New Jersey’s proposed lieutenant governor would not complete the remaining term of a governor who died or resigned. Instead, the following November, a new governor and lieutenant governor would be elected and would take office immediately.

Most troubling to me is that the lt. gov. will not be elected individually, as in many states, but be chosen by the gubernatorial candidate, like US vice-president, and then the pair will run as a team.  

Gubernatorial candidates would hand-pick their running mates for lieutenant governor, beginning with the 2009 election.

I see it as two steps forward, one step back. I would not go as far as the Star Ledger in saying vote against creating a post, but I think I’m in the camp that says we’re probably going to have to fine tune it later.

The Gender Gap

The Star Ledger‘s Deborah Howlett reported the results of an StarLedger/Eagleton poll showing that Corzine is ahead with women:

The poll showed likely women voters supporting Corzine over Forrester by a margin of 17 percentage points, 50 percent to 33 percent

and Forrester is ahead with men:

while men favored Forrester 42 percent to 37 percent

I’ve been wondering especially since Corzine is no longer showing a 20 point lead, who would support Forrester? With that tired request of Corzine to take a “no new taxes” pledge, lack of experience, etc, I just couldn’t see it. I thought people might stay home, but I couldn’t see supporting Forrester.