Tag Archive: Chris Brown

After the primary: races to watch

Yes, we know that in the competitive primary districts there were no surprises, and given the dynamics of these districts the balance between R’s and D’s is unlikely to change. However, there were a few omens in other races. The votes in the primary are not predictive of outcome in the general, but they may provide hints, favorable or unfavorable, about specific races.

Races that bear watching and would benefit from additional support:

LD 38: This was the only district where both D incumbents received less primary votes than the R challengers. In 2013 this was an incredibly close race.

LD 1: A split district where the R incumbent polled well, but the R challenger outpolled both the D incumbent and D challenger. This is a district which previously had two D incumbents and was closely contested in 2013.

LD 2: Another split district where the D incumbent got the most votes, and the D challenger slightly outpolled the R incumbent and R challenger. This was another close race in 2013.

To read the still unofficial results for all primary races go to the Division of Elections website.

Go below the fold to see the candidates and polling results for the above three races.  

An Unenthusiastic Veto Override

A corrected version of this earlier post follows:

Governor Christie continues his unblemished record of preventing legislative overrides of his vetoes. He succeeded again on Monday by rallying his troops to defeat a bill that would have “required more detailed reporting by the state about the long-term impact of its soaring debt.” So reasonable and needed was this bill that the Assembly initially passed it unanimously. Christie’s victory, however, was not so sweet for him.  

To override Gov. Christie’s veto, 54 Yes votes were required, including enough Republican votes. The results were (Bill A961) Yes (45), No (5), Not Voting (7) and Abstains (23).

Of the Republican Sponsors of the bill, only one legislator stuck to his principles and voted Yes: Jay Webber.

These Republican Sponsors changed their minds and did NOT vote Yes: Alison McHose (abstained), Chris Brown (abstained), Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (not voting), Declan O’Scanlon (abstained), Parker Space (abstained), and Anthony Bucco (abstained).

Only five Republicans were unequivocal in their No vote: Brian Rumpf, Mary Pat Angelini, Jack Ciattarelli, DiAnne Gove, and Gregory McGuckin.

Other Republicans waffled by abstaining or did not vote.

So only five Republicans voted to override, one Republican Sponsor had the guts to vote Yes, and most Republicans quietly abstained – not much enthusiasm from Christie’s troops. If this is a trend we may yet achieve an override before our governor disappears into the mist.


But You Knew This ….

PolitickerNJ has a story this afternoon that I think is worth a look. GOP Assemblyman Chris Brown (LD2) said on the radio today that there was a deal between Gov. Chris Christie and George Norcross; that Christie would do little to raise money for South Jersey Republicans.

The remarks came during a 60-minute interview with Brown on Hurley in the Morning on  WPG Talk Radio 1450 AM, hosted by Harry Hurley. Hurley later qualified the remark to PNJ, saying Brown was referring to Atlantic County GOP candidates.

Brown was complaining about the governor, Hurley largely excusing him (some people never learn). But it’s Brown who actually has stuff to be resentful for. His running mate, incumbent assemblyman John Amodeo, lost his seat by 40 votes (and is fighting uphill for recount), which a popular governor could easily have overcome with vigorous support for the ticket. Or any Republican ticket, for that matter, from Governor No-Coattails.

Brown may live to regret going rogue. But if I were him, I’d resent even more deeply that the new chair of the RGA is apparently willing to carry other Republicans – further up the food chain – to victory, when he didn’t even bother to do it on the home planet.

Christie’s for Christie. Some people never learn.

What’s Happening Today Thu. 09/12/2013

The stink lingers from AshBritt’s Sandy debris removal contract Christie initiated: Initially we learned from the NJ Comptroller’s report that AshBritt debris transport mileage calculations were over-estimated and over-billed to NJ municipalities. Based on investigation of only 8 towns the overbilling amounted to $328,942. Now we also learn that the U. S Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office is “questioning Christie administration officials over how they awarded a no-bid contract to a politically connected contractor to haul the mountains of debris left by Hurricane Sandy.” Between over-billing in other municipalities and findings from Homeland Security, do not expect the stink to disappear. Maybe there will be more damning information before the gubernatorial election.

Stockton Polling Institute poll indicates that Democratic State Sen. Jim Whelan leads Republican challenger Frank Balles, the Atlantic County sheriff, by 12 percentage points in the 2nd Legislative District. Republican incumbent Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris Brown hold leads of 4 to 6 percentage points over Democrats Vincent Mazzeo and Nick Russo.

Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) sues the State for its failure to provide the most basic documents on why thousands of families have been denied assistance in rebuilding after Sandy. “What is the big secret around why some of the most impacted victims of Sandy are getting turned down for rebuilding money?,” FSHC Staff Attorney Adam Gordon said. “The documents that the Christie Administration are using to evaluate who gets money and who does not should be public. No more excuses, no more secrets.”

Public Schedules:

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: 10:00am, Barbara Buono: FSCME Council 71 & Council 73 Convention, Caesar’s Atlantic City, 2100 Pacific Ave., Palladium Room, Atlantic City; Barbara Buono: 11:35am, Dom Giordano Program, WPHT 1210AM.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: 10:15am, Gov. Christie, groundbreaking for the Turtle Back Zoo Education Center, West Orange. Activists opposed to fracking may be there. 6:00pm, Christie tours a training facility and addresses members of Plumbers Local 24, West Caldwell.

NJ Senate: 1:00pm, voting session, Senate Chambers, State House, Trenton. Bills include agreeing with Christie’s conditional veto on the economic development incentive programs and allowing horse racing on the Atlantic City beach.

Senate Education Committee: 10am, Room 6, State House Annex, Trenton. Bills on loan forgiveness programs for teachers, a pilot program encouraging minority men to teach in failing schools, and allowing charter schools to limit admission to students with substance abuse problems.

NJ Transit Board Meeting: 9:00am, NJ Transit Headquarters, 1 Penn Plaza East, Newark. See today’s Record article about how the board has kept lawsuit payouts from public view.

Too Good to be True?

When I was bringing up my children, it was always tough to get them to clean their rooms. So on occasions when I found their rooms neat and tidy, I was skeptical, suspected an ulterior motive, and I was usually right.

So how should I react when a Republican New Jersey Senator, a woman who invariably toes the line on Chris Christie’s energy policies, promotes an approach to energy that has been denigrated and unsupported by the Christie administration? Is there something there that I don’t understand?

Along with Chris Brown, her compatriot in the Assembly, Senator Dawn Marie Addiego has announced that she will be introducing a bill to promote the use of solar energy on state projects. Specifically, the bill would give priority to state construction projects that include solar generation and that return excess energy to the power grid (for a credit).

According to a press release from Addiego’s office, the proposed projects must be approved by the Board of Public Utilities – an entity that, like the governor, has not been proactive in promoting renewable energy.

It’s difficult for me to understand why such a bill is coming from a Christie acolyte and not from some of the more enthusiastic supporters of clean energy like Senator Bob Smith and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula.

I welcome this initiative, and hope there’s no hidden catch in the legislation that enriches the electric companies or otherwise hurts consumers and taxpayers.  When I asked Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, about this bill, he provided this comment:

“We believe giving priorities for schools and other governmental entities for solar arrays is important step forward in clean energy. Reserving space on the grid is needed to make sure these projects can get built. This will save taxpayer money and protect the environment because green equals green/ We support the concept of this bill [and] are looking forward to reading it once it is available and may have more comment then.”

I agree with Jeff. Hopefully when the bill becomes available, my skepticism will be proven to be unwarranted.

They give in a shadow afraid to be known

Who are these people and organizations? What are their names? How much do they contribute? Assembly Bill 3863 would require disclosure of contributions received and expenditures made by committees or organizations not affiliated or coordinated with any candidate.

The bill passed the Assembly State Government Committee with the three Democrats, Linda Stender, John McKeon, and Herb Conaway in support. The two Republicans, Donna Simon and Chris Brown, abstained and issued a Minority Report. It pays lip service to transparency but serves as a preamble for likely opposition from other Republicans and from the governor who expects significant contributions to go to “independent” groups which support him.

Following the Citizens United court ruling at least 27 states have strengthened their campaign finance laws. It is important that New Jersey do so as well. The Assembly and Senate Democrats should be willing to make some accommodations to avert a veto or gain enough Republican support to override a veto. We need more sunshine and less shadow.  

Boiling Frogs in the Pinelands

The old story goes that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, he will jump out immediately. But if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and slowly bring it to a boil, he will stay there and be cooked to death.

That’s what happened to America under George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent, that’s what’s happening in the Pinelands of New Jersey today.

(click on the photo to continue)

Pinelands – Photo by author

First they attack you, then you sue them, then you beat them, then you… join them?

Burlington County Freeholder Chris Brown decided to jump ship to the Republicans yesterday. It got me to thinking about the path Brown traveled to arrive at this point, so lets take a trip down memory lane. He ran as a Democrat in 2007 for Evesham council and won with the recently turned Republican Mayor Randy Brown and John McKenna. Then in 2008, he ran for Freeholder as a Democrat. Although party chair Bill Layton embraced him today, the attacks on Brown were relentless in that campaign over everything including counting cars:

 “The inability of Evesham Councilman Chris Brown to accurately count the number of township-owned motor vehicles is a crystal clear sign that he’s incapable of dealing with larger budgetary and fiscal issues,” said Burlington County Republican Chairman Bill Layton

During the campaign, the GOP and his opponents ran some pretty nasty ads against him, so Brown decided to file suit against them for running a “slanderous, false and malicious attack ad” that represented “everything wrong in politics:

“The Republicans have stooped to an all-time low smear campaign,” said Brown.  “This campaign has been reduced to playground-style name calling.  This lawsuit is being filed not just for me, but to send a message to career politicians that citizens are tired of the lies and character assassination.”

They wanted the court to issue an injunction to stop the Republicans from running a television commercial, but never got a hearing. Brown went on to win the Freeholder seat, being sworn in on January 1, 2009. Despite this history, Brown is ready to forgive and forget in the name of politics.

The current party chair Alice Furia said she was not surprised by the move. Rich Dennison, who would like to be the next chair said Democrats would not forget. Whoever is chair, the party will look to hold him accountable.

I worked to elect Chris in his council race, then the freeholder race, have done plenty of work and like him personally, so I find this decision disappointing on a few levels. Chris may say he was elected as a fiscal conservative, but he was elected as a Democrat through the hard work of many fellow Democrats. It’s a shame that their hard work, time and effort means less to him than it does for them. The party really needs to regroup and get its act together, because complaining about someone that left can’t be considered a winning strategy.

Burlington County Chairman situation changing by the day

As the days go by, the situation continues to change in Burlington County. Yesterday, I got a notice reminding me of a Special Meeting to elect a new Chairman of the Democratic Committee on February 4. It said in part:

As there is some confusion as to the status of the forthcoming special meeting

The letter covered what they said were allegations made in reference to the special meeting that required them to “respond in an honest effort to clear the record.” To be honest, I’m not fully clear on the acting designations, but the letter covered who is authorized to send notice of meetings and alleged procedural irregularities with the resolution. Herb Conaway had introduced a resolution at the last committee meeting calling for an election on that date, rather than in June as had been anticipated.

Today I opened my mailbox and had another letter, this from Acting Chairwoman Alice Furia:

By now you have heard about a special meeting scheduled for February 4, 2010 at Kove II, which purportedly has as its purpose the election of an “interim chairman” for the Burlington County Democratic Committee. Such an election will not take place or be recognized on that date. Pursuant to the advice and opinion of legal counsel, the special meeting February 4, 2010, to the extent it seeks to elect an interim chairman for the BCDC, is absolutely contrary to and violates the BCDC’s by-laws. Therefore, any action taken at that meeting purporting to elect an interim chairman shall not be recognized, and will be declared null and void. The election iwll take place in June – as scheduled – pursuant to and as required by the BCDC’s by-laws, and will take place on the first Tuesday immediately folllowing the primary election.

Along with the letter came a legal opinion from the firm of Zucker Steinberg with respect to whether an election can be held February 4:

Since the BCDC by-laws do not permit the selection of a Chair on an interim basis, any attempt to do so through a special meeting is ultra vires and therefore, void.

In fact, if a Chairperson were to be elected on an interim basis, that election would breach the by-laws and unjustly infringe upon the duties specifically assigned to the Vice Chair.

What a mess, I can only imagine what I’m going to find in my mailbox tomorrow.