Tag Archive: Rep. Rush Holt

It’s All About The Governor


By appointing a friend as placeholder to occupy the vacant U. S. Senate seat until October and decreeing that there would be a senatorial primary in August and an election in October, our governor did a masterful job of undermining potential Republican candidates and giving a boost to Democrats. Although the Senate seat has been in the hands of Democrats since 1979 and never was very winnable for Republicans, Christie was all too happy to sacrifice the seat in order to increase his election results in November. He could have appointed someone to hold the seat until late 2014 which would have given the person he chose time to learn the job and launch a campaign. Such an approach would probably have led to a court battle, but if successful it would also have given other Republican candidates time to raise money, increase name recognition and launch a campaign. He could also have saved the state money by holding the election in November, but ultimately he showed us it was all about the governor and the benefits he sought.

He proceeded to order a senatorial primary in August and to require candidates to produce 1,000 petitions and file by this coming Monday. Republican candidates who did not anticipate an election until next year have been caught flat-footed. The last two Republican candidates for the U. S. Senate were State Senators running in an off year. Potential Republican candidates like Sen. John Bramnick (who will not run) and others have their own November campaign to manage. Running two campaigns simultaneously is a nightmare. In last year’s senatorial race incumbent U. S.Senator Robert Menendez raised $12 million and State Senator Joe Kyrillos raised $4.6 million. Unless a Republican candidate with millions to self-finance were to pop out of the woodwork (businessman Joe Plumeri?), there is no candidate who has anywhere near that size war chest now nor the likelihood of raising big bucks in just a few months.

So far the only announced Republican candidate is conservative Steve Lonegan. Until he resigned a few days ago he was State Director of Americans for Prosperity – a supporter of the Tea Party and financed by the Koch brothers. When he ran in the 2009 primary he did not do badly – tallying 140,946 votes versus Chris Christie who got 184,085 votes. In that primary Democrat Jon Corzine received 154,448 votes. Lonegan will be appealing to the far right, but also far from the mainstream New Jersey voter.

Fortunately there are a number of Democrats are who are strong candidates for the Senate. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who polls the best, but has not yet formally announced his candidacy, has made no secret of his interest in the job and is well financed.  Rep. Frank Pallone (CD 6), also with a large war chest, has long been interested in the position but has not yet announced his candidacy. The highly respected Rep. Rush Holt (CD 12) has formally entered the ring. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who is weighing her options, would bring a strong, competent woman into the mix.

So in the end it’s all about Christie. He chose to use his gubernatorial power to help himself against his opponent Sen. Barbara Buono. In the process he sacrificed any chance for a Republican Senatorial win and left potential Republican colleagues out to dry and twist slowly in the wind, with plenty of opportunities for Democrats. The final roster of candidates will be known by Monday so stay tuned.  

NJ JOBS: Setting a Goal, What Won’t Happen, & How Manufacturing Can Help

In the previous diary on NJ JOBS we examined the wrong track approach which emphasizes reducing government, budgets, and debt. By putting people back to work, however, the state can regain tax revenues needed to reduce indebtedness and replenish our unemployment, transportation, and pension/health funds. More important, it brings a measure of relief, security and optimism, sorely lacking now, to people who want to hold on to their home, put food on their table, pay bills, and reduce their reliance on government support. The argument should not be, as Christie says, over jobs for the private sector vs. the public sector because both are essential to our economy and our well-being.

Our state government, famous for imposing objectives on organizations it funds, could set its own objective for lowering unemployment. A decrease of just 1%, from 9.5% to 8.5%, in the unemployment rate would add about 45,000 new jobs for those who are now struggling. At an average salary of $25,000 it would add over $1 billion to our economy, part of which would go to taxes, strengthening the state’s revenues. A substantial reduction in unemployment to 5% or 6% is a longer term objective which entails retooling education, innovation and automation for new jobs replacing those which are no longer needed and in which we are no longer competitive. A state goal of 1% or 2% is not an impossible dream.

Rep. Rush Holt talks to Blue Jersey about the Health Care law and House vote

Late yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak with Rep. Rush Holt about the then-upcoming vote in the House to repeal the Health Care bill passed and signed into law last year.  In addition to thanking the Congressman on behalf of Blue Jersey, we discussed a few things about the vote to repeal, and also noted that it was a good day for New Jersey Democratic Congressmen – Rep. Pallone took a high profile role in denouncing the political theater that the House Republicans were performing and Rep. Andrews not only spoke out as well but also had a very entertaining discussion with a Republican Congressman on Tuesday night’s Hardball.  

Rep. Holt’s floor speech from yesterday afternoon can be seen here, and below the fold is a flavor for what we discussed during a roughly 20 minute discussion (I tried to get exact quotes but since I couldn’t type that fast, assume that below is roughly what was said but maybe not exact):