Tag Archive: Frank Lautenberg

Lautenberg family endorses Pallone: “We are saying: ‘Stick with Frank'”

In the short, hot-weather sprint that is the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, some endorsements are obvious, some surprising. Few are newsworthy. This one might be. Frank Lautenberg’s family has picked their choice to fill their late father and husband’s seat: Frank Pallone. It’s inside baseball, but that may not matter. Only the most active and in-tune Democrats will even be voting in an August primary anyway. Will this move them from frontrunner Cory Booker? Will this help them distinguish Pallone from his progressive brother in the House, Rush Holt? Here’s what they say:

We are saying: Stick with Frank.

Frank Pallone, like Frank Lautenberg, has always looked out for working families in New Jersey and made them his top priority – in fighting for economic justice, healthcare reform, environmental protection, education and so many other issues.

Frank Pallone, like our Frank, will put in the hours and hard work necessary to fight for New Jersey in the Senate.  And Frank Pallone knows that gimmicks and celebrity status won’t get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future.

Frank Pallone worked with Frank Lautenberg for many years.  He understands what it takes to take on and defeat Republicans and the special interests that attack the well being of working families.  While it may not always attract glamorous headlines, Frank knows that to be effective you must put New Jersey and your principles first, not your own glory.

Many of the Lautenbergs spoke at his memorial; the most memorable – funny, specific, personal – eulogy from his son Josh (C-SPAN at the 1:00:45 mark), who owns a business in Colorado, and who clearly has some of the basic building blocks of a politician himself.


Yes to Oprah. No to Suffering Kids

Yesterday, the Assembly passed a bill that would facilitate palliative care for children by allowing them access to certain marijuana-related drugs. The bill next goes to Governor Christie’s desk where he will decide whether or not to allow parents to access these drugs in order to ease the pain and suffering of their children. These small kids suffer seizures and other medical conditions and often require expensive hospitalization. The drugs would not cure these symptoms, but would make the little children’s lives less unpleasant and do not produce the “high” that is associated with marijuana.

After the bill passed, several parents asked for an audience with the Governor, presumably to urge him to sign the legislation. Incredulously, the Governor refused to grant them even a few minutes – instead pawning them off on a staffer.

It’s difficult to understand the Governor’s priorities. He apparently has time to gallivant across the country to promote himself and his education-industrial complex buddies. But he doesn’t have the time to meet with parents of New Jersey kids suffering from debilitating diseases. He has the time to be in photo ops celebrating Federal dollars that Senator Menendez and the late Senator Lautenberg secured for hurricane relief, but says the use of medicinal marijuana is a slippery slope to making New Jersey more like California.

I don’t see the right-wing using the term “compassionate conservative” any more. Perhaps even they can’t live with that lie.

NJ Supreme Court Denies Cert in Challenge to Christie’s Special Election Timetable

The New Jersey Supreme Court has denied certification to a challenge to Gov. Chris Christie’s timetable for a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg.

Their decision means the Appellate Division’s ruling that the Governor’s special election scheme is not illegal and stands as the final judicial determination on the merits of the Democratic plaintiffs’ claims. The seat is currently held by Christie’s appointment by Republican Jeff Chiesa, who was sworn in June 10 and will remain in the seat until he is replaced by election.

Since he became governor, lawyer Chris Christie has distinguished himself – and generated national news – by politicizing the NJ Supreme Court, a court the people should be able to expect to be above partisan politics. The effect has been to diminish the integrity of the court, and its independence. Since Christie made national news by failing to renominate Justice John Wallace – as every governor has with every justice seeking renomination since the NJ Constitution was adopted in 1947 – it is not hard to wonder if there’s fear in the Court that a politically maneuvering Governor Christie would punish a justice for going against his wishes when it comes time for renomination. One can only speculate.  

Who is Rush Holt?

Polling tells us anybody running for U.S. Senate from New Jersey not named Cory Booker is at a distinct name-recognition disadvantage. Fairleigh Dickenson/Public Mind pegs it like this: Booker 78%, Pallone 49%, Holt 42%, Oliver 20%. And let’s face it, by current timetable the primary is in 55 days; a very short time to overcome Booker’s media exposure.

So, Cory will win, right? Maybe. Remember, turnout will be low. It’s frickin’ August. Our governor, more concerned with rigging this to maximize his own landslide than respecting taxpayers or shielding the citizenry from voter suppression, has gamed that skillfully. What if one of the two House members with nearly-identical voting records breaks out and makes a convincing case to inspire a progressive groundswell? I can see that path to victory. And it’s clearly what Rush Holt is shooting for in this risky intro video. Risky, because of the frank way he discusses the front-runner.

I think this is exciting as hell – forthrightly progressive (as he is), specific on his positions, witty, and tight. What do you think, Blue Jersey?

Disclosure: I used to work for Rush Holt, on the campaign side. He is as smart as you think he is. And as good.

Website: Rush Holt – Teacher * Scientist * Progressive – for U.S. Senate

New Jersey Opposes October Special Election

promoted by Rosi

Eagleton came out with a poll saying that the people of New Jersey overwhelmingly oppose Chris Christie’s money-wasting special election:

When told the $24 million cost of holding both a special primary and general election, New Jersey voters strongly oppose N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s call for a Wed., Oct. 16 election. Only 12 percent agree with Christie that the Senate election should be held separately from the Nov. 5th gubernatorial and legislative elections. Instead, more than three-quarters say the elections should have been combined.

Will that hurt Christie’s poll numbers?  Of course not, because someone went to the crossroads for him.  Here’s a different issue, but an illustrative one.

Following Christie’s appointment of Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to fill the Senate seat temporarily, voters had a change of heart about what they wanted in an interim senator. Ahead of the announcement, 43 percent wanted the seat to be filled by a Democrat, reflecting Lautenberg’s party. Fifty-seven percent also preferred an appointed senator who would also run for the seat in the special election. But following the June 6 announcement, opinion shifted strongly in Christie’s direction, with support for a Senate placeholder doubling from 32 percent to 64 percent, along with an 11-point decrease in support for a Democratic appointment.

“The power of the Governor to set the agenda is clear in these numbers,” said Redlawsk. “In a blue state, it’s not surprising most voters initially wanted a Democrat appointed, but once Christie made the appointment, many voters took their cues from his decision.”

I feel pretty resigned to this, at this point.

Cory Booker in Willingboro

Today is the day when, to the surprise of no one, Cory Booker formally announced that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Booker’s announcement was in two parts – north and south – with a gathering in Newark this morning and Willingboro this afternoon.

Here are Booker’s remarks in their entirety. Booker is introduced by former Senator Bill Bradley (2:13), who in turn was introduced by Democratic Burlington County Freeholder candidate Reva Foster.

Booker’s remarks start at 8:51.

Dear Chris Christie: You Blew It.

Governor Christie has finally been trapped by his own bullshit. No matter how he wants people to slice this one, no one is buying the special election stunt as anything more than a corrupt, self-serving abuse of power executed solely in the political interest of Chris Christie. His wilted response to Jon Stewart is especially laughable:

“It was funny, I laughed [and] it was really good, but it has absolutely no relationship to the truth of my position”

Can’t you just picture Christie’s reaction as he watched Jon Stewart’s downright embarrassing call-out of this sad affair? Oh yeah, he was definitely loving it. Definitely.

Chris Christie 2009, Meet Chris Christie 2013

As promised, here is the screen capture from last night’s Daily Show of what Christie said in 2009 when asked what he would do if Sen. Frank Lautenberg died. He said he would not do what he just actually did. For the record, Chris Christie objects to what Jon Stewart says getting caught tangled up in his own words.

Share, share, share this.

In 2009, when asked what he would do if Lautenberg died, he said he would not do what he just did. h:t Karen Foster

hat/tip Karen Foster

Christie names Lautenberg successor: NJ Attorney General Jeff Chiesa

NJ-AG-Jeffrey-S-Chiesa-1Gov. Chris Christie has just announced who will succeed the late Senator Frank Lautenberg: NJ Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.

Chiesa will serve until after the election to fill the seat, currently set by the Christie timetable as Wednesday, October 16, after a primary currently set for a date in August. Chiesa has pledged not to seek to retain the office in the upcoming Senate election.

In appointing Chiesa, one day after Frank Lautenberg’s funeral and as his body lies in repose in the well of the Senate, Christie ignores the chance to do something more noble and more in keeping with the sensibilities of his constituents, choosing instead to pick someone high on the Christie food chain. Before Chiesa was New Jersey’s Attorney General, he was Chief Counsel to Christie. He met Christie in the law firm that once bore Christie advisor Bill Palatucci’s name (Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, now known as Dughi & Hewit). Chiesa followed Christie to the US Attorney’s office when Christie had that title; the Christie administration has several former employees from there in high positions. Chiesa headed up Christie’s transition team before the governor was sworn in in January of 2010.

Last year Bill Orr covered the still-ongoing public safety story of New Jersey’s privatized halfway house system, most of which were run by Community Education Centers (CEC). That’s the company run (till recently) by Bill Palatucci , former law colleague of both Chiesa and Christie and still in Christie’s inner orbit .(Palatucci extricated himself from the company even as the sister of a woman murdered by an escaped inmate at one of his facilities  filed suit against CEC). There were serious questions about how the law firm all three worked for had set up Education and Health Centers of America as a “non-profit” allowed to contract with the NJ Department of Corrections and then pass the revenue on to CEC.

That same month last year the_promised_land wrote in Blue Jersey about a manuever by AG Chiesa that looked suspiciously political in the 2011 legal challenge to Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera’s election. His noted Chiesa may have been serving his political patron, Christie, in a way entirely inappropriate for the chief lawyer for the state’s interests – and not it’s governor’s political interests. He wrote Chiesa’s maneuvers looked like an effort to try to take out a Democratic Assemblywomen by manipulating legal arguments.

You’ll want to see the other side; what the Chris Christie administration wants you to know about Chiesa. So, below the fold, Christie’s release to press in its entirety.

Rush Holt in: “We need a [U.S.] Senator who will recommit our nation to these progressive values”

A few minutes ago, Rep. Rush Holt sent an email to supporters, declaring his intention to run for the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg, and asking for both fundraising and petition help. Portions of that email, below, and after the jump. Holt:

This week, New Jersey lost a public servant of the highest caliber – someone whose advocacy touched, improved, and saved countless lives.  New Jerseyans knew that, in Senator Frank Lautenberg, they had a true champion who would fight for our shared progressive values.

On Tuesday, Governor Christie announced a special election to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate.  Today, I ask for your support as I seek to serve as your Senator in that seat.  The reason is simple: I believe I am the best candidate to continue the passionate advocacy for progressive values that Sen. Lautenberg exemplified.

Nominating petitions are due to the New Jersey Division of Elections by this Monday afternoon, June 10th, and I ask your help in collecting the signatures to qualify for the ballot.