Tag Archive: tom kean jr.

Christie promotes another former US Attorney colleague – to NJ Atty General

Gov. Chris Christie today nominated his current chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd as NJ Attorney General. He’s asked the state senate to confirm him during the lame duck session, which ends in just 43 days. Christie also named Regina Egea, now director of the authorities unit, to replace O’Dowd as his COS.

In his first term, Christie has positioned a number of former colleagues from when he ran the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey into positions of influence. Legitimate questions have been asked both about Christie politicizing that office while he had it, in sharp difference from requirements that U.S. attorneys exercise their responsibilities without inappropriate political considerations. And he has made some questionable decisions in promoting some to high government positions they may not be qualified for.

Without question, like most of those promoted from the former ranks of Christie’s U.S. Attorney Office stable, it’s easy to see that loyalty to the boss would be an attractive qualification for Christie in picks like this one. And also without question, O’Dowd is an intelligent and capable lawyer, or he wouldn’t have lasted in the Christie-centric jobs he’s had for 10 years; chief of staff to Christie, deputy chief counsel to Christie, and 7 years as United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, much of it under Christie. O’Dowd’s wife also works in the Christie administration; Mary O’Dowd, is the commissioner of the Department of Health.

With the added scrutiny of Christie’s still-unofficial but ramping 2016 ambitions and some of the debatable staffing staffing decisions he’s made as governor, I would hope the Senate applies some process to such an important nomination. But the quotes below, from the Senate President, Senate Republican Leader and Assembly Republican Leader, it’s unclear where the will for a reasoned examination of O’Dowd would come from in the senate confirmation process to come.  

QoTD: Gov. Kean on his political son vs. his actual son

A couple of pullout quotes from a couple of illuminating interviews with former Gov. Tom Kean by Charles Stile of The Record and Matt Friedman at the Ledger – a rare one-two punch from competing newspapers.

First from Friedman’s:

“You assume that if the governor wins by 20 points or more you’d have coattails,” Kean said. “No governor I know in any state has won by 20 points and not had coattails.”

Uh, yeah, I’m thinking Christie doesn’t much care about the no-coattails thing, Governor. Christie’s political rise has always been about Christie, and less about bringing along fellow Republicans who might share his worldview of how things should be run. GOP donors considering 2016, take note.

Kean Sr. seems pretty pissed in chats with both reporters, though he’s too much of a gentleman (or so I suppose) to suggest his disaffection is permanent against his political protege who first came to him as a fresh-scrubbed 14-year-old. I should add, he’d probably not choose my word, “pissed”. Though I imagine even gentlemen get that way when they realize NJ politics has devolved to the point where your political son actually tries to take out your actual son. Had Christie’s failed move against Kean Jr. succeeded, Stile suggests, it might have ended Junior’s political career.

Christie’s skulduggery against his own party’s legislative leader was almost certainly political payback on behalf of his political ally, Steve Sweeney. It was Junior who financed the GOP effort to take Sweeney out November 5th, recruiting attorney Niki Trunk to run against him. I’ve had my issues with Sweeney’s leadership – he’s made some good moves and some awful ones – but I’m glad he beat Trunk, and by a healthy margin.

But just the same way it’s doubtful Christie cares about his lack of coattails, I doubt he’s losing sleep over the disappointment Gov. Kean now feels for him. But this quote, from Stile’s piece shows Christie’s self-serving schtick is getting old for even the most loyal in Christie’s circle:

“He’ll have a microscope on him and we’ll find out … if he’s qualified,” he told The Record.


Ouch. But yeah. Bring on the microscope.  

QOTD: “A Scared Child” – Unless It’s In His Best Interest

Tom Kean Jr. is taking a beating publicly following Tuesday’s election results. Even though he seems to have survived as Senate Minority Leader for the Republicans, Senate Majority Leader and Blue Jersey friend Loretta Weinberg questioned where the fight he showed to keep his GOP title was when more important issues were on the table. Weinberg:

“Tom Kean was willing to stand up to the governor when it was in his personal best interest, but when it came to women’s health, abused children, background checks for guns and tax relief for seniors he hid like a scared child,” Weinberg said. “This only proves why New Jersey voters returned all 24 Democratic Senators to ensure Democratic control of the upper house.”

It’s a good point the Senator makes. Kean should be pushed to show the same spine and stand up to the Governor on many issues this coming cycle to see whether he’s really concerned about the people of New Jersey or his own legacy.

Senate Dems put Kean Jr. in “Trenton Shake” video

promoted by Rosi

The Senate Democrats have been attempting to draw attention to the silence from Senator Tom Kean Jr. regarding questions about contributions from firms that have received contracts for Sandy cleanup and today they took their latest step.

From an email sent out by the Senate President:

You may have received a few messages from me in recent weeks challenging NJ Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. not to accept campaign money from any of the questionable Hurricane Sandy debris removal contractors or their politically-connected subcontractors – firms who have become the subject of intense media and legislative scrutiny (Be sure to Google “AshBritt”).

Well… Since Kean has been ducking, bobbing, and weaving on this issue for the past few weeks, I thought this video might “shake” him into coming clean. Check it out and forward it to your friends and family. Share it on your Facebook walls and retweet it.

And here is the video…

Production quality aside, their message regarding Kean’s silence continues to be clear and this is how the Senate President closed the email:

Kean should immediately accept my challenge and avoid further appearances of impropriety.

Anyone think Kean will accept?

On this Day in Blue Jersey History

BlueJersey turned six the other day and that got me a little nostalgic. Next thing I knew, I’m digging through the archives — nearly 20,000 diaries –and finding some real BlueJersey gems dating back to 2005.

Some of the stuff even seemed worth sharing (or re-sharing, in this case.) So follow me below the fold to relive some nuggets from this date, October 3rd, in years past.

The Steaming Load of Crap Award goes to…

…NJDSC Chairman John Wisniewski for putting his name on the following e-mail:

Dear Supporter,

Please join the New Jersey Democratic State Committee for our 3rd Annual Women’s Equality Event honoring County Chairs Charlotte DeFilippo, Elizabeth Muoio, Marguerite Schaffer and Lois Zarish at the home of Marcia Marley on Thursday, August 25th from 6 to 8 pm. Contributions are $91 commemorating 91 years since women received the right to vote.

We are honoring these county chairs who have blazed the trail for all of our women candidates and set an example in their county.  Chairs DeFilippo, Muoio, Schaffer and Zarish embody our Democratic ideals and they work tirelessly to make sure women are on the ballot and to elect Democrats every November.

No other Governor in the country has targeted women in this manner.  Chris Christie has repeatedly displayed a pattern of insensitivity and vindictiveness to the issues that are most important to the women in the state of New Jersey.  He’s used the health of women as a pawn to court the far right of his. The women of New Jersey deserve better.

The county chairs we are honoring have stood up for these issues and supported candidates that stand up for women.  Your support at this event will help enable the NJDSC to better use its resources in this current fight and help train and elect future candidates.

We hope you will join the NJDSC and women leaders from across the state and show your support! To purchase tickets please click here or to RSVP or for more information, please email Heather at hdejong@njdems.org or call 609-392-3367.


John Wisniewski, Chairman

I have to be honest.  I don’t know anything about Chairwomen Muoio, Schaffer, and Zarish, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are more deserving of their awards than Union County Democratic Chairwoman, Charlotte DeFilippo, who during the decade-plus that I have been involved in NJ politics, has done more to prevent progressive women from being elected to prominent offices than anyone in this state in both political parties.  If Chairwoman DeFilippo is deserving of any award, it should be the Phyllis Schafly Award for her years of disservice to the progressive women of Union County and anywhere else in New Jersey where her influence has had an impact.

I have at least three examples of Chairwoman DeFilippo’s negative actions against progressive women candidates for elected office during this period of time and if this topic interests you, please feel free to continue reading below the fold as I tell the stories of would-be Congresswoman Maryanne Connelly, State Senator Linda Stender, and Assemblywoman Ellen Steinberg.  Imagine if you will that the following stories are accompanied by Arlo Guthrie-style acoustic guitar strumming a la “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (Unrelated to this issue, I had the opportunity to visit Southbridge, MA recently and found the restaurant that used to be “Alice’s Restaurant” and is now “Theresa’s Southbridge Cafe”).

A look at the new NJ-21 (and a brief history)

by Stephen Yellin

First, a friendly welcome to the residents of Kenilworth, Chatham Borough, Bernards Township and Far Hills (all 919 of you in the last case) to the 21st Legislative District of New Jersey. I hope you find your accommodations comfortable, as you’ll be staying here for the next 10 years. 🙂

Second, we in the 21st bid a fond farewell to Chatham Township, Madison and Millburn, which will now have a Democratic delegation to represent them in the form of Dick Codey, John McKeon and Mila Jasey. While this Berkeley Heights resident is more than a little jealous to be less than a mile away from having this awesome trio as my delegation, I take comfort in knowing that my friends at Drew University will get to know another awesome ex-Governor a lot better in the year ahead*.  

NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, now waiting for Chris Christie’s signature

Our year was marked in January by the NJ Legislature’s failure to do the right thing on marriage equality, and as our year turned cold again, 2010 was marked by the  loss of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who threw himself off the George Washington Bridge after two people he knew appeared to betray him. (A federal higher-education anti-harrassment bill, introduced by Frank Lautenberg in the Senate and Rush Holt in the House, is named for Tyler Clementi).  

But today was a sweet victory in NJ, something to be Thankful for as we sit down and think about our gratitudes later this week, for the kids – all kinds of kids – who may now benefit from our renewed commitment to respect them, particularly at the places where they go to learn. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights passed both houses of the legislature today. It requires anti-bullying programs in public schools and codes of conduct in our colleges and universities.

We owe special thanks to: Prime Sponsors in the Assembly Valerie Vainieri Huttle & Mary Pat Angelini and in the Senate Barbara Buono, Diane Allen & Loretta Weinberg. Sponsors include Steve Sweeney, Senate President, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver & Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce.

All that’s needed now is a signature from Gov. Chris Christie. Here’s some early response, after the jump. Please add your own if the spirit moves you.