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Corzine hints at Senate pick

There’s been a lot of speculation about who Corzine will pick to fill his seat. Up until now, Corzine hasn’t said too much about what he’s looking for. Ultimately, it is up to him, so we should take his comments seriously. The Asbury Park Press seems to think Corzine’s recent statements aren’t much of a hint, but I disagree. Without completely spilling the beans, Corzine may have hinted at who he’ll pick for his successor in the Senate. His priorities are holding on to the seat and choosing someone that’s “independent” and “high-quality”:

“I want to make sure that we hold that seat. Our country in my view is not headed in the right direction, and we don’t want to aggravate problems by giving up a Democratic seat. I think it will be important to have an independent, high-quality individual in that seat. We’ll cross that bridge in the next couple of weeks”

It’s no surprise he would want to hold a seat, but his choice of wording may be more revealing. While the words “independent” and “high-qualtiy” sound pretty generic, they could be carefully chosen code which may hint at his thought process. Corzine may want to use this major decision as an opportunity to prove his independence from the party bosses and pick someone untainted by scandals.

Rutgers prof. John Weingarten agrees and even expands the playing field beyond the frequently mentioned Congressmen + Codey:

“It may be a reasonable argument to be made that he may want to pick anybody but (Menendez and Andrews) because he wants to show his independence. … he might have reason to pick someone unexpected, someone who is not a white male”

This should be welcome news for those advocating that Corzine pick a woman.

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.

Franklin Township Town Council Meeting Tonight

The Franklin Township (Somerset County) Town Council meets tonight at 7:00.  The location is at the Municipal Building, 475 DeMott Lane.  You can review the agenda for the meeting at the Township’s web site.  Tonight’s agenda is light, so it shouldn’t drag on like some council meetings tend to do.  Still, if you read the agenda and look at the amounts of money under discussion, a lot of taxpayer funds are being awarded for contracts and so on.  Show up so that the council knows the taxpayers are paying attention.

Jon Corzine: Chicks Dig Him

In light of the comments thread going on elsewhere on this web log about filling Governor-elect Corzine’s Senate seat with a female representative, this brief story from Talking Points Memo is worth mentioning.  It seems our 53rd Governor was able to take advantage of a gender gap by a significant margin.  Speaking as a balding, greying, recently bearded middle-aged man, that would be great news if I were still single.

*Sigh*

Thanks to the sweet as sugar Cookie Jill for alerting me to the TPM posting.  If you ever want to know anything about cookies, her web site is the place to go.  She’s the Queen of Cookie.

Senate ’06: Pennacchio Won’t Challenge Kean, Jr.

Tom Kean, Jr. has been the leading contender for the 2006 GOP nomination to run for Jon Corzine’s Senate seat for a while now. The Zogby Interactive polling has had Kean beating every Democrat aside from Acting Governor Dick Codey by a healthy margin. That’s probably due in large measure to his name recognition. After all, how many people think they’re actually pledging to support his father? And is polling before the public campaigning has actually begun really even worth anything?

The biggest obstacle in Kean’s way has been the possibility that he may face a strong conservative primary challenger. Now that the a relatively moderate Forrester failed to draw votes away from Corzine and the Democrats, I’d imagine a primary challenge is more likely. That said, the most frequently cited potential challenger had been Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio. According to PoliticsNJ, Pennacchio has fallen in line and decided to back Kean. But that doesn’t mean Kean’s got an open field just yet.

Two self-proclaimed conservatives are eyeing the race: Michael Doherty, who was re-elected to the Assembly on Tuesday with the highest vote total in the state, and Bill Spadea, who secured just over 40 percent of the vote when he challenged Congressman Rush Holt in 2004.

“Tom’s a good guy, but I think he’s clearly within the [Christie] Whitman domain,” said Doherty.

“People want to see strong leadership,” he said.  “Even if they don’t necessarily agree with you, they respect that you stand for something.”

Noting Tuesday’s anemic voter turnout, Doherty argued that an unsaturated conservative message is the only way to wake up the state’s politically disengaged masses.

“Doug Forrester basically ran the dream campaign that the Whitman wing wants to see Republicans run, and it didn’t get it done,” Doherty argued.  “It totally de energized the base.  You can’t kick conservatives in the teeth and then expect them to flex their muscle to get you over the goal line.”

Spadea indicated he’d probably defer to Doherty if Doherty decides to run and said he expects they will work out an arrangement in the next few weeks.

“I don’t believe we should pick our Senate nominee on legacy,” Spadea said.

The national Republicans are working hard behind the scenes to make sure Kean gets the nomination. On December 6, NRSC chair Elizabeth Dole will be coming into the state to raise money for Kean and show the national Republicans’ support. However, one wonders how that’s going to play out with Dole is in the middle of quite a firestorm for taking over $80,000 in illegal campaign contributions from corporations. After all, banning pay-to-play is one of Kean’s top stated priorities.

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks while we wait to find out who Governor-Elect Corzine will be appointing to the Senate.

Non-Partisan my A@#

So directly from the Evesham Township website

This non-partisan form of government holds its elections the second Tuesday in May every other year. The Mayor and Council run under a slogan rather than a political party affiliation

Then my parents get a letter (scan of letter) in the mail on November 5 from our “Non-Partisan” Mayor

OUR TOWN AND OUR WAY OF LIFE IS UNDER ATTACK! AND I NEED YOUR HELP

Oh, no what could this life altering threat be because I am shaking. He continues…

Forrester’s Future

The Daily Journal provides future relief from Forresteritis (a rare disease that infects political campaigns with negative ads, falsehoods, and empty promises).

Doug Forrester’s loss Tuesday spells the end of his ability to run as a statewide candidate, political analysts said.

“I think that his future in terms of elective statewide politics is over,” said Carl Golden, a top adviser to two former Republican governors, Tom Kean and Christie Whitman.

“This is the second time he won a contested primary of his party and the second time he lost statewide,” Golden said. “It would be very difficult to come back and run for statewide office. And there is an economic element: How much more of his own money would he be willing to spend on yet another statewide race?”

Opting out of the state’s public financing program, which provides taxpayer aid to candidates who agree to cap spending in gubernatorial races, Forrester, 52, a West Windsor businessman, spent over $30 million from his own pocket to run for governor.

The self-funding of his gubernatorial bid came three years after he spent $7.5 million on an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2002, when Democrat U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli was replaced late in the race by Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

In addition, Forrester spent $1.4 million on advertising last year through a political action committee that primarily bashed then-CBS anchor Dan Rather, plus over $780,000 more in political donations to federal and state GOP campaign accounts.

David Rebovich, a political scientist at Rider University, said Forrester is not likely to find support inside his own party for another statewide run — which, in New Jersey, means running for governor or U.S. Senate.

Forrester’s only experience in elected office was nearly two decades ago. He was on the West Windsor township committee for four years, including two years as mayor in 1981 and 1982.

(Updated) Panter loses in 12th – Dems net +1 in Assembly

UPDATE: It looks like O’Scanlon is ahead of Panter once again.

Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Michael Panter narrowly held on to his seat, after a judge ordered previously uncounted votes to be included:

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson issued an order to the Monmouth County Board of Elections today, instructing the Board to open a Marlboro Township voting machine which failed to report votes cast for Assemblyman Michael J. Panter in yesterday’s election. The final vote tally resulted in Assemblyman Panter’s re-election to a second term in the General Assembly.

In total, Democrats picked up 3 seats and lost one two, for a net 2 +1 gain. Democrats went into the election with a 47-33 majority and increased it to 49-31 48-32. The Assembly seats that changed party:

(+D) District 1: Nelson Albano (D) defeated Jack Gibson (R) (i)
(+D) District 2: Jim Whelan (D) defeated Kirk Conover (R) (i)
(+D) District 36: Gary Schaer (D) replaces Paul DiGaetano (R)
(+R) District 12: Jennifer Beck (R) defeated Bob Morgan (D)
(+R) District 12: Declan O’Scanlon (R) defeated Michael Panter (D)


UPDATE (from lilybar in the comments): The Asbury Park Press is reporting that there won’t be any official results in the 12th until next week when provisional ballots will be counted.