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Happy Veterans’ Day!

Last night I attended the Franklin Township Town Council meeting.  The mayor proclaimed today Veterans’ Day in Franklin Township (our Mayor, a Republican, seems to have an inordinate fondness for issuing proclamations, like maybe it makes him feel like a bigshot).  Anyway, I guess he turned today into Veterans’ Day.

Happy Veterans’ Day to everyone, and especially to all the veterans.

Any candidates to run against LoBiondo?

There’s a currently Recommended Diary over at DailyKos that lists all the 2006 Congressional Races which are presently uncontested by Democrats.

NJ-2 (DowntheShore, essentially) is listed as one of the uncontested races. It’s a seat presently held by Frank LoBiondo. Frank LoBiondo got swept into office in 1994 as part of the “Contract On America” Crew.

From his website:
Representing the resort city of Atlantic City, Frank has been a powerful voice in Washington on gaming issues, serving as founder of the Congressional Gaming Caucus.

Congressional Gaming Caucus? Don’t tell me that a Republican at the head of the Gaming Caucus, which oversees gambling and casinos, hasn’t gotten a “donation” from Abramoff.

I’m from Central NJ, and not familiar with the strange and what look obviously corrupt politics of Southern NJ/AC, but I cannot believe that we can’t find a Democrat to run against this guy. LoBiondo is a sitting duck.

Who is considering a run against this guy? If no one is, who might be a potential candidate? Any Paul Hacketts out there?

Site update

Blue Jersey continues to grow. Our community now has over 150 160 registered users, and we average over 500 hits and 1500 page views per day. During election day and the day before, Blue Jersey received about 3,500 hits per day.

The site has received coverage on other blogs like DailyKos, MyDD, Wonkette, BOPNews, and has been mentioned in the National Journal’s Hotline and blogometer several times. Blue Jersey also appeared on MSNBC recently (11/9) on a segment called the “Blog Connection”.

If you haven’t joined yet, sign up and join the discussion.

Corzine mentions Nia Gill, woman for Senate

The Times of Trenton this morning reports that Corzine is considering appointing a woman, Nia Gill, to fill his senate seat.

Corzine yesterday mentioned Nia Gill, D-Montclair, an appointment that would allow him to play a role in naming the first woman and minority from New Jersey to the U.S. Senate.”(A11)

Speculating earlier that she was a “wild card” on

The outside-the-box pick du jour is Nia Gill, an outspoken progressive hero who fought off the Essex County Democratic machine to hold onto her state Senate seat just two years ago. Gill is sharp, passionate, and persuasive, and the fact that she’s an African-American would make her selection that much more noteworthy. (Steve Kornacki)

It looks like she’s moved to the top of the deck. Smart move, and make sense given that women elected Corzine by a 20 points, while men elected Forrester by 3 points. Not only should Corzine choose a woman for Senator, but it gives new credence to the reasons women voted for him and directs him to address those issues. Next question: what are those reasons?

Rep Rothman endorses Menendez for Senate; I don’t

Congressman Steve Rothman (NJ-9) wasted no time in endorsing Congressman Bob Menendez as his choice for Corzine’s vacant Senate seat. He begins with why he thinks Menendez would be a good choice (from a press release):

As the first person in his family to attend college, Bob Menendez has walked in the shoes of the average New Jerseyan and knows the challenges they face. While other politicians have talked about reform, Bob Menendez has actually lived it – he got into politics as a 19-year old college student leading a petition drive to reform a local school board. He showed his toughness and his independence early when he stood up to a corrupt mayor of Union City, testified against him in court, and had to wear a bulletproof vest because of threats to his life.

He continues with the REAL reasons why Menendez should be the pick:

He has a substantial head start in the fundraising race with $4.1 million in the bank, and has the national network in place to build on that success. The district that has sent Bob to Congress seven times is a powerful base for launching a statewide campaign. He represents portions of Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, and Union Counties which account for 42% of the votes in a Democratic primary and approximately 30% of the votes in a general election.

I’m curious to see how this plays out. If Menendez’s big sell is his money advantage and his ability to quickly line up support behind him, it will be similar in some ways to the way Corzine pushed Codey out of the primary race for governor. Many voters and editorial boards were upset at their options (I wasn’t), and unhappy with the influence of money in the state. Unfortunately, we live between the 1st and 4th most expensive media markets in the country, and being able to raise money is a reality any candidate must be able to deal with.

I met Menendez once a few weeks ago. We chit chat in Spanish for a little bit which was fun (I don’t get much practice any more), but we didn’t talk much. As a hispanic, I would like to see more minorities and women in positions of power. But much more importantly, I want a progressive Senator that represents me and is not beholden to anyone but the voters. I’m afraid that Menendez has already sold out his constituents to a higher bidder (in this case Wal-Mart) in order to fill his campaign coffers.

This is a much more serious issue than just accepting $12,500 from a corporation. It’s all about the implied promise of support that comes from that contribution (aka pay-to-play). The influence over our elected officials is strong. This is why people like Joe Biden (D-MBNA) voted for the disasterous bankruptcy bill. What kind of trade agreements would Wal-Mart pressure a Senator Menendez into agreeing to? Who knows – maybe he can’t be pressured into it, but given his history, that’s not a chance I’m willing to take.

UPDATE: As a Congressman, Menendez voted against NAFTA and was a leader in the fight opposing CAFTA. I still believe that Wal-Mart’s contributions to him led to, directly or indirectly, the opening of 4 new stores in and near his district.

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.