Tag Archive: don payne

“Money makes the world go ’round”: Pelosi, Pallone and Norcross

The MC of the musical Cabaret had it right: “It makes the world go ’round,” which leads us to current House Dem Leader Nancy Pelosi’s friendly relationship with Rep. Don Norcross (CD 1) and not so friendly involvement with Rep. Frank Pallone (CD 6). The tale involves the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Leader Pelosi added an additional Freshman Representative position to the Steering/Policy Committee and secured the votes to ensure Don Norcross was elected. This move is not surprising if you remember that during the campaign House Majority PAC, largely controlled by Pelosi, took funds away from Aimee Belgard’s CD 3 campaign and instead provided money to help Donald Norcross who needed no help. As National Journal pointed out, “In September, House Majority PAC took in six donations, totaling $270,000, from labor unions and businesses tied in various ways to Donald Norcross.” That led Rosi Efhim to conclude in her diary Oh, so THAT’s why Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC dissed Aimee Belgard to plump up Don Norcross.

The House Democrats are voting today on who will become ranking member of the House Committee on Commerce and Energy. Seniority should call for Rep. Frank Pallone to hold that position. However, the Steering/Policy Committee recommended California Representative Anna Eshoo, who is supported by Pelosi. Pallone received more than the 14 votes he needed to force a vote by the entire House Democratic membership. How Don Norcross voted on the Steering/Policy Committee is unclear. What is known is that Pallone has contributed $286,500 from his leadership political action committee, trailing Eshoo, who has handed out $436,200. NJ Representatives Donald Payne (CD 10) and Bill Pascrell (CD 9) have endorsed Pallone for the job. Pallone deserves the position and may even get it. In the meantime Norcross, after succeeding in joining the Policy/Steering Committee, also seeks to join the Energy/Commerce Committee.  

Regardless of how the votes go today this tale provides insight into the ongoing importance of what Cabaret’s MC calls, “That clinking clanking sound of money money money money money money.”

Tomorrow’s Elections and Impacts on NJ

It seems those dang Republicans will take control of the U. S. Senate in January, but not at a veto-proof level. (I hope any Supreme Court members thinking of retiring will do so quickly.) Republicans will retain control of the House and add some compatriots but not reach the veto-proof level. The House could hardly get more dysfunctional. With so many close races, all results may not be known for days or even months.

With both the Senate and House under Republican stewardship one might expect more conservative legislation. It will be necessary for President Obama to make clear up front what he will veto and to work more closely with congress on other bills to achieve a reasonable compromise. Maybe the Republicans will even realize they need an immigration bill, and it will just barely pass the stink test.

As explained here it appears that Gov. Christie who has traveled extensively out of state to increase the number of Republican governors has had little if any success. His campaign for the presidency does not seem to be doing much better. So maybe it’s no surprise that during his recent visit to New Jersey he appeared unpleasantly, impatiently, and loudly angry at someone who questioned his management of Sandy recovery.

More about the elections below the fold including impacts on New Jersey.

Primary Elections Are Upon Us: Get Off Your Duff And Get Out The Vote

In 11 days, on June 5, over 5 million NJ voters will be eligible to cast ballots in the primaries. How many will show up at the polls? Will enough people who support your candidate vote? Can you help generate turnout? Below are the votes cast in recent NJ primary House races, and the other federal races at the time:


2004     333,416   Presidential

2006     329,057   Senate

2008     449,125   Senate (Presidential primary held separately earlier)

2010     413,138   none

With such lousy turnout (below 10%), it is no surprise when the victor is the candidate who got his/her people to the polls. Achieving strong turnout is all the more important in close races. Even the underdog can upset the leader with volunteers and a good ground game, and this year there are underdogs who need our help. Count on GOTV to make the difference between losers and winners in several races. Endorsements, money and local party support all help, but now is when canvassing, phoning, dropping off literature, delivering signage, talking to neighbors, and union engagement can make the key difference. Turnout will still be disappointing and has to be actively solicited, but volunteering for GOTV should start this weekend if you are not already involved.

Updated primary candidate financial data during the current election cycle through May 16 is starting to appear at the FEC website. The amount spent through May 16 appears in parentheses next to the candidate’s name. Some reports are not yet available, but should be shortly.

In CD 9 there are two Democratic candidates: Representatives Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman ($1,602,442) – well known, experienced and progressive. They have come out with their their campaign coffers overflowing and their guns blazing. The smoke is everywhere, although some of it is smoke and mirrors. With emotions high, the shoot-out is likely to result in a big turnout. Because of the closeness of the race GOTV will make the difference.

In CD 5 resentment against Republican conservative incumbent Scott Garrett ($531,961) on the part of newly reapportioned Democrats in the district as well as frustrated long-time residents will fuel some voter turnout. However, the Bergen County Democratic anointed candidate Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen generates little enthusiasm and has conducted a lackadaisical campaign. His competitor Marine veteran Jason Castle has proven more energetic, charismatic and progressive, but is new to the district and has been hobbled with a shoestring budget. For Castle to take the day, GOTV is essential.  

In CD 10 where there are four main candidates seeking to inherit the mantle of Donald Payne, Sr., the endorsements, party machine machinations, and candidate backroom alliances have seemed like a whirling dervish – high speed, unending, and enough to make us dizzy. Newark Council President Donald Payne, Jr. ($81,915) has the edge but not the enthusiasm of the electorate which his father enjoyed. Senator Nia Gill ($70,293) has her supporters, particularly outside of Newark. West Ward Councilman Ron Rice, Jr. has the opportunity to build on an enthusiastic cadre of district-wide progressives and Newark residents. Donald Payne, Jr. has recently become more active with a professional campaign staff and growing coffers, but he still lacks the popular support which Ron Rice might generate. At this point volunteering for GOTV is crucial.

In LD 16 Blue Jersey diarist, YouTube sensation and art teacher Marie Corfield faces former Princeton Twp. Deputy Mayor Sue Nemeth. Corfield has party endorsement in three counties, whereas Nemeth’s support is based in the Princetons. In this Assembly race there is substantially less campaign money for GOTV, and within LD 16 there are no Congressional Democratic primary contests to attract voters to the polls. All the more reason to volunteer to get out the vote.  

For Progressives: Two Key Primaries

The House primaries are just four weeks away. For progressive Democrats there are two primaries where our actions now might particularly affect the key outcome. The Cook Redistricting Forecast for House elections in NJ is a split, with six seats for Democrats and six for Republicans. The outcome of the primaries and later elections in many cases is easily predicted, with incumbency, safe redistricted districts, and weakly contested races as key indicators. However, the Cook Report considers CD 5 as only “likely Republican: not competitive now but has the potential to be engaged.” There progressive Democrat Jason Castle and Blue Dog Democrat Adam Gussen are in a primary arrayed against ultra conservative incumbent Republican Scott Garret. The other key race is CD 10 where “legacy candidate” Donald Payne, a favorite of the Essex County Democratic machine who hides from the public, is fiercely contested by the progressive Councilman Ron Rice and Senator Nia Gill.  These are two cases where getting involved now could make a difference.

In CD 9 where emotions run high and individuals debate the merits of Rep. Steve Rothman and Rep. Bill Pascrell, the key outcome is predictable: a progressive Democrat will take the seat in the election. Although there is no Democratic primary in CD 3, it is not too early to help Democratic Shelley Adler’s campaign against incumbent Republican Jon Runyan. The Cook Report’s projection for Mrs. Adler is even more favorable than that for CD5. It’s forecast is “lean Republican: Competitive, but the Republican has an advantage.” In other House campaigns so far neither the Cook Report nor the Rothenberg Report forecast any upsets, although in CD 7 Democratic Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-17) has launched a campaign against incumbent Republican Leonard Lance. It’s also possible but not probable that the losing Democrat in CD 9 might gain a seat through entering a campaign in a neighboring district.

In CD 5 the need for volunteers and donations is particularly acute. Earlier in the year several potentially strong candidates decided not to run. Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett has $1.9 million in Cash on Hand, an almost ten-year incumbency, and the ability to disguise rabildly conservative proclivities. Previously unknown, but charismatic and progressive Jason Castle has been the most active of the two Democratic challengers via the internet and public appearances. However, he operates on a shoestring with $4,000 in Cash on Hand as of March 31. Teaneck Deputy Mayor Gussen has made no financial filing, he backed out at the last moment from a recent debate with Jason Castle and shows little engagement either publicly or through the internet. However, he has the important support of Bergen County Democratic Committee.

In CD 10 the question is not whether a Democrat will ultimately be elected, but whether the Democrat will be a progressive, such as Newark Councilman Ronald C. Rice, Jr. and Senator Nia Gill (D-Montclair) or legacy candidate Don Payne Jr. who during his time on the Newark Council and Essex Board of Freeholders has shown little interest in progressive issues. The candidates are attracting attention beyond their borders with new endorsements and alliances announced almost daily. Ron Rice Jr., was just endorsed by Democracy for America. Nia Gill was endorsed last week by two prominent women’s groups, plus Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Donald Payne, Jr. just received an endorsement from Senator Robert Menendez whose support runs against his local Hudson County Democratic Committee but in favor of the Essex County counterpart.

In CD 10 where the campaign was brought about by the somewhat sudden demise of Representative Donald Payne, Sr., the candidates started with little money to propel their efforts. Through March 31 in terms of Cash on Hand, Gill reported $34,000 and Rice reported $10,000.  Neither Payne, Jr. nor Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith filed a financial report with the FEC. However, it appears that Don Payne, Jr., may soon lead the pack financially. Don Payne, Sr, left $1.4 million in his campaign fund and its treasurer has been returning contributions to the donors and urging them to resubmit the check to Don Payne Jr.’s campaign. Against the Essex machine and a likely well financed, but “no appearances” Don Payne, a candidate like Ron Rice, who spent sunday in Hudson and Union Counties, particularly needs financial and volunteer support.

No contest should be taken for granted. Nonetheless, progressive Democrats between now and June 5 have an opportunity to affect key outcomes, especially in CD 5 and CD 10. As the lottery ads say, “You have to be in it to win it.” That includes voting, volunteering, donating and helping anyway you can.

In CD 10 Ron Rice Steps Up His Campaign

In the battle over the tenth CD, where Donald Payne, Jr., is the “legacy” candidate, West Ward Councilman Ron Rice stepped up his retail efforts this weekend throughout the district. He ceded no territory to his competitors by spending time in Jersey City, Union, and Montclair. Senator Nia Gill (D Montclair) has certain advantages in these areas, but Rice just gained an endorsement from Union County Freeholder Mohamed S. Jalloh. Rice also campaigned close at home where he is best known and where there are a substantial number of votes he must pick up. With Newark representing the largest CD 10 block, he was in the Vailsburg area and in the Central Ward where he is supported by its Councilman Darrin Sharif. In addition, he visited the contiguous towns of Hillside and East Orange.

In local policy-related matters, Ron Rice, along with supporter South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka and others, has taken on the Star Ledger and Cory Booker with a separate Children First Slate for the city’s school advisory board. In a recent election, this slate took two of three open seats and remains one shy of control over the nine-member panel. On federal matters Ron Rice has been a strong advocate for reauthorizing the federal Violence Against Women’s Act.

For previous recent diaries about Ron Rice and the CD 10 campaign, go here, here, here, or here.

The Bubbling Cauldron of the 10th CD

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

         The witches demonic incantation in Macbeth

Succession in the 10th CD (much of Essex and small parts of Union and Hudson) has just become more uncertain and convoluted, but also more favorable for Councilman Ronald C. Rice. Two City Council members have thrown their support to Ron Rice whose candidacy for the seat formerly held by Donald Payne, Sr. was hailed in this Blue Jersey exclusive article. The Essex County machine for some time has made clear that its choice for Line A is Donald Payne, Jr. However, Union County will not grant a preferential “Line A” treatment to any one candidate and instead will run an open primary. Sen. Nia Gill (D – Montclair) continues to appear determined to seek the position, so she and Rice will benefit from the open primary. Mayor Wayne Smith of Irvington has also announced that he is running, so there are now four Democratic candidates – a bubbling cauldron.

The largest number of registered voters in the 10th CD are in Newark which has its own brand of politics. Councilmen Ras Baraka and Darrin Sharif just announced their support for Ron Rice, Jr. These two councilmen are going against the interest of their Council President, Donald Payne, Jr., and against the interest of the Essex Democratic machine. Their influence is helpful to Ron Rice as they both are leaders with their own constituencies in Newark and have influential fathers who might further sway support for Rice.

Politics in Newark are not governed by progressives vs. conservatives or Democrats vs. Republicans. Most Newarkers vote the Democratic line. Furthermore, council and mayoral elections are nonpatisan so party is less important than the image, likability, name recognition, and popularity of local candidates, as well as whether they are on the Booker Team or affiliated with another group.

Furthermore, Newarkers tend to become involved in local civic issues (school, mayoral governance, and crime) as opposed to specific Democratic or Republican concerns or state or national issues. Those in the suburbs might vote for a congressman based on his or her progressive, moderate, or conservative orientation in both local and state-wide matters. In Newark people tend to know one or more councilpersons, like or dislike him or her and vote accordingly.

Also Newark is a city of wards and shifting loyalties. Rice is councilman for the West Ward, Sharif for the Central Ward, and Baraka for the South Ward – a potent brew of three of the five wards. However, it gets interesting and more complicated in the South Ward which was the home of Donald Payne, Sr., and is a base of support for Donald Payne, Jr., who was elected as one of four Councilmen at Large. Also, it was the power center of former Mayor Sharpe James who retains some influence but little power. Rice, Baraka, and Sharif (and their respective fathers Sen. Rice, activist/poet Amiri Baraka, and former Booker strategist Carl Sharif) have frequently shifted loyalties in mayoral and council elections.

Continue beyond the fold for more on the broader implications of this race

Payne’s plane attacked in Somalia

Details are scarce, but Reuters reported earlier today that Congressman Don Payne’s plane was attacked while leaving Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia:

Somali insurgents fired mortars towards U.S. congressman Donald Payne as he left the Somali capital on a rare visit by a U.S. politician to the anarchic Horn of Africa nation, police said.

“One mortar landed at the airport when Payne’s plane was due to fly and five others after he left and no one was hurt,” Abukar Hassan, a police officer at Mogadishu airport, told Reuters.

Good news that no one was injured.  More information will no doubt follow.

Third Quarter Cash on Hand for Democrats

Cash on Hand from the FEC quarterly filings:

Rob Andrews (NJ1) $2,429,899
Rush Holt (NJ12) $623,200
Frank Pallone (NJ6) $3,105,223
Bill Pascrell (NJ8) $1,031,440
Don Payne (NJ10) $751,399
Steve Rothman (NJ9) $1,838,631
Albio Sires (NJ13) $132,605

Your politics 101 quiz:  Which of these Congressmen is thinking of running for the U.S. Senate?

Monday News Roundup

  • New Jersey takes another step towards enacting a policy to provide clean needles to IV drug users to curb the spread of HIV.  With today’s long-awaited vote, NJ stands to become the very last state in the union to enact a needle exchange program.  With HIV transmissions as high as some third world countries, this step is long overdue here in the Garden State.  Today’s vote will  “also would provide $10 million for drug treatment and provide those exchanging needles with information and referrals for HIV testing, drug abuse treatment and health and social service programs.”
  • Also on tap in Trenton, a property tax standoff between Governor Corzine and the Union labor movement in the state.  Thousands of union members are expected to descend on the statehouse.  Says said Lynn Maher, a spokeswoman for the state’s teacher’s union, “the message is: We are not the problem. School employees, public employees, did not cause the property tax problem.”  According the the Star Ledger,

    the  frustrated Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday fired off a letter to legislative leaders challenging them to send him whatever pension reform measures they can pass, and then he will sort it out with his veto pen.


    I encourage you to the lead the Legislature forward,” Corzine wrote to Senate President  Codeyand Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr.  “Make your best judgment and move forward, but do not allow this issue to slow or impede our shared and overarching objectives.”

  • How many people will die in the Darfur region of Sudan today?  As heir aparent to lead the Africa subcommittee, Rep. Donald Payne vows to make the ongoing genocide in Sudan his number one priority.  Namely, he wants to fly some reconnaissance planes over Darfur to get a lay of the land, then send in unmanned drones to seek and destroy the janjaweed troops with blood on their hand.

    In an interview with Blue Jersey, Rep. Payne concedes such action is a bold step but “but someone has to stop this genocide and we have to do something to show (the killers) enough is enough.  At some point, enough will have to be enough.”  Check out the Darfur interview here.

  • New Jersey continues to face uo to the toxic legacy of its past.  Philly Inquirer

    As many as 300 long-closed municipal landfills, including others laden with toxic waste, lurk beneath New Jersey’s landscape, closer to homes than many people realize.


  • According to Pam’s House Blend, Lt. Laurel Hester is the obvious favorite  for blog-o-sphere’s Queer of the Year.  (Vote here)  Pam also notes that the movie (“Freeheld“) about Hester’s death-bed struggle for pension benefin for her widow is slated to get  some serious attention at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.  Clearly Laurel Hester’s struggle and legacy live on.
  • NJ.com reminds us of the ongoing battle between Gov. Corzine and PA Gov. Rendell over dredging of the Deleware River.  Unless the impasse can be overcome, Rob Andrews suggests a Congressional law to dissolve the Deleware River Port Authority (which is led by Rendell) and replacing the agency with an outfit more ammenable to the needs of New Jersey.

    Did I miss something?  What’s on your mind this mild December day??

  • Congressman Donald Payne, the Darfur Interview

    we are not going to allow people to be killed and murdered simply because their skin is black–Rep. Payne

    I had the opportunity to interview New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne, who is next in line to chair the subcommittee on Africa and Human Rights in the new Democratic Congress.  For the millions of people in the Darfur region of the Sudan, Congressman Payne’s chairmanship can’t come soon enough.  As you know, all hell is broken loose in Darfur. It’s a full-blown genocide, a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.  Donald Payne promises to make the genocide in Darfur a top priority.  He has some bold ideas to end the dying as well as the smarts (and the foreign policy chops) to address Darfur head on.  And pretty soon, he’ll most likely have the clout as well.  So check out the interview and see for yourself why Congressman Payne is out last best hope to break the current cycle of genodice in Darfur.

    (the really juicy stuff is below the fold)