Tag Archive: Kathleen Donovan
Yesterday’s Blue Jersey “cereal” article pointed out that in the Bergen County race for County Executive Democrat James Tedesco brings change and strengths to the job with broad-based experience and support from key elected officials and unions. The incumbent Republican Kathleen Donovan, however, is no pushover. She is a fixture in Bergen politics and has heavy-hitter supporters. She has also created enemies and controversies which hound her. There are good reasons to vote for Tedesco as well as the two Democratic Freeholders running for re-election.
County elections may not grab the big headlines but elections do matter. In Bergen County where the number one concern of constituents is always real estate taxes, an important need now is to support Democrat James Tedesco’s battle to unseat Republican Kathleen Donovan as County Executive. One source likens her to the cereal that has long been on your shelf and you routinely pull down to eat (Donovan served 19 years as Bergen County Clerk) versus a cereal that is better for you (Tedesco’s policies.)
Getting people to change their cereal is not always easy. Tedesco brings change and strengths to the job. Donovan, still in her first term in office, is already mired by controversies in her past (while Chair of the NY/NJ PA she sanctioned a policy that was a precursor to Bridgegate), her present (her appointment of hospital task force members slammed by freeholders of both parties on Monday) and possibly her future (American Dream Meadowlands.)
Booker vs. Lonegan and the election schedule that only Christie could concoct:: With exactly two weeks to go, October 16 is the Special Election date for the U. S. Senate race. Gov. Christie made it particularly “special” by holding it on a Wednesday and not on General Election day. How convenient! We continue to miss Sen. Frank Lautenberg. We wont miss current Sen. Jeff Chiesa (R), but don’t be surprised if Christie appoints him to another position.
Now we have the 13th public poll on the race: The Monnmouth Universiity poll which has Booker at 53% and Lonegan at 40% – a +13 point advantage. Previous recent polls according to Real Clear Politics: Quinnippiac (9/22) Booker +12, Kean University (9/19) Booker +19, Richard Stockton College (9/21) Booker +26 and Rutgers-Eagleton (9/09) Booker +35. The race has tightened up, Booker maintains a healthy lead (no “margin of error” concerns), but in this weird election with low turnout predicted it is important that we all vote and help GOTV or else face something akin to the apocalypse.
Republican candidate Steve Lonegan has been in a persistent and somewhat successful attack mode. There were high spirits at his classic 1938 Bendix Diner event yesterday in Hasbrouck Heights. With some 70 attendees, it opened with a prayer which included a blessing for “marriages between one man and one woman.” Texas Governor Rick Perry, accompanied by plainclothes Texas Rangers, spoke briefly about guns (good) and ACA (bad: “It’s felonious”) and lauded Texas and Lonegan. Steve Lonegan then launched into his stump speech talking concisely, spiritedly, and bluntly about his conservative principles. On the government shutdown he said, “It’s a little inconvenient but not so much so.”
Senior Lonegan Advisor Rick Shaftan spent a few minutes with me enumerating all the perceived bad points about Cory Booker. When I asked Shaftan twice why he thought Lonegan would win, the four-word response each time was “He is a conservative.” Apparently that’s sufficient. One good point about Shaftan: he likes Joey Novick, but then again so do a lot of people.
Two attendees saw a truck in the parking lot painted with “1-800-got-junk,” under which they affixed a sign reading, “YES! Obamacare.” Perhaps an indication of their high spirits, enthusiasm and confidence. Also in attendance were Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39), Bergen County Exec. Kathleen Donovan and Senator Michael Doherty (R-23).
NJ Court sets up schedule for the State’s application to stay the Summary Judgment order, set to be effective October 21, in the M. E. case: October 1: the State must file its case; October 4: the Plaintiff’s opposition to the stay must be filed; October 7: the State may file its opposition if it chooses. There will be no oral arguments.
Pubic Schedules (Your opportunity to support or heckle)
Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: No public events.
Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 4:30pm, Groundbreaking ceremony at Rowan University College of Engineering, Glassboro; 6:15pm, addresses the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s Eagle Awards Dinner, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick.
U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker: 6:00pm, Reception at the home of Carol and Andy Golden with Rep. Rush Holt, Princeton, for more information go here; 9:00pm, “Run with Cory,” Palmer Square, Princeton.
U. S. senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 6:30pm, fundraiser, High Point Brewing Company, 22 Park Place, Butler.
Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com
With two weeks to go, the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee held a candidates’ forum and GOTV event on Sunday. After subtracting aides and speakers there were about 37 attendees, equivalent to 0.1% of Teaneck’s population – perhaps a sign of Democratic apathy during this election moment. The focus of attention was on Representative Rothman and the five county candidates. Teaneck’s legendary Senator Weinberg introduced each speaker.
From the states’ Division of Elections, my source for data, Bergen County voter registration is 48% unaffiliated, 31% Democrats, and 21% Republicans, but county Republicans have been making gains in the last two years. In 2006 and 2007 Democrats won the seats. In 2008 Republican Kathleen Donovan won the County Clerk job by 10,500 votes, and three Democrats won the freeholder positions. In 2009 two Republicans won the freeholder jobs. Now following Christie’s election, with property tax concerns, in a distressed economy, and with an anti-incumbency mood, the Democrats are more challenged.
Representative Steve Rothman, in his seventh 2-year term in office, spoke volubly about his achievements following his habit of periodically raising his voice and heightening his enthusiasm over key points. He overwhelmingly won his last election with 105,853 votes against his opponent’s 40,879 votes, and has a slimmer but sufficient edge (NY Times says 99.8% chance) to win the race.
Leo McGuire, the energetic, charismatic two-term sheriff, who won his last election with a margin of 22,000 votes, is in a race with Emerson’s Police Chief Republican Michael Saudino. McGuire has a campaign chest 3 times the size of his opponent, but a September poll reported by Charles Stile showed that while he has a strong 45% job approval rating, he only holds a three point lead.
County Executive Dennis McNerney, serving a second term, has a particularly steep challenge. In a low-key presentation he spoke about sharing and consolidating services, green space and parks, and expense cutting. In 2006 he was re-elected with a 53,000 vote margin. However, in more recent years controversies among county Democrats and scandals within his party have not helped him. In a testy debate last week his opponent Kathleen Donovan said she would freeze the tax rate for a year and then hold increases at or below the level of inflation. She also trumpeted her reductions in the county clerk’s budget. In late September an internal Republican Party poll showed Donovan holding a 13-point lead over McNerney, whereas, in August a Democratic Party poll reported a tighter contest with a 4% lead for Donovan. GOTV and anticipated increased ad spending will be necessary to turn around McNerney’s fate, as well as that of the three freeholder candidates where issues include pay-to-play, taxes and infrastructure. After some good years, times have become harder for Bergen County Democratic office holders.
This is becoming a pattern. First the Governor changed the message of the Bergen County races when he tried to scrap the Blue Laws. That effort died a painful death, but not before it created a skirmish between Dennis Mcnerney and his opponent in the County Executive race, Kathleen Donovan who wouldn’t challenge Christie on his plans and tried to split the difference saying the voters should make the call.
So it’s no surprise that when news leaked the other night that the Governor wanted to sell the Meadowlands racetrack for a dollar and privatize the NJSEA, Donovan tripped over her own quotes to get a response out in support:
Calling it a “major benefit for Bergen County taxpayers,” Kathe Donovan, Republican candidate for Bergen County executive, applauded a governor’s commission proposal to dismantle the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
Well there are a few problems that the McNerney campaign pointed out, including the fact that she came out in support of a plan she didn’t even see basing her response on a newspaper article:
Last night, Kathleen Donovan jumped in line behind Governor Christie and sold out Bergen County again. In fact, she signed on to support the Governor’s latest crippling plan for Bergen without even seeing it. This plan is nothing more than a government bailout at the expense of Bergen County taxpayers. The fact that Miss Donovan would support a plan she has never seen that is potentially devastating to the county because of a newspaper report is disturbing. Unfortunately, this disinterest in details at the expense of Bergen residents has been commonplace for Miss Donovan.
To be fair, she did say the Xanadu proposal might require further review although she nearly came out in support of that too:
“Before any state support is committed to this project we should be fully aware of the public’s risk,” she said. “However, the potential for construction and full time employment should make this project’s ultimate success a top priority.”
Maybe that means she’ll actually read the commission report before deciding to jump on the Christie bus.
Following the logic of Kathy Donovan, candidate for Bergen County executive can give you a headache. First, she was challenged by Dennis McNerney to oppose the Governor letting the millionaire’s tax expire. Instead of joining in that call, she called it “populist rhetoric”:
He still believes that taxing residents is the answer to everything. And he doesn’t undderstand that placing undue burdens on any one element of society ultimately forces greater burdens on everyone else.”Taxes in New Jersey are confiscaory. Taxpayers who can are voting with their feet, and moving elewhere, leaving the burden to those who remain. Mr. McNerney’s populist rhetoric is totally transparent.
That’s right, asking millionaires to help while everyone else is feeling more pain by the day is just populist rhetoric. But while she says we should lay off the millionaires, she’s scrambling to find any way but scrapping the blue laws to raise money and is looking toward the billionaires:
“New Jersey taxpayers and not billionaire team owners from New York should be the beneficiaries of this windfall,” Donovan wrote in a letter to Christie. “You have asked all taxpayers, homeowners, teachers, public employees, boards of education, municipalities and others to sacrifice. Shouldn’t the Jets and Giants be included? ”
I wonder how Donovan drew the line that millionaires shouldn’t be included with her request of the Jets and Giants to share the burden? I guess the billionaires aren’t populist rhetoric and it’s wrong to tax the rich, unless they’re really really rich. You would think McNerney would continue to drive these issues relentlessly throughout the campaign.
The dumb stuff and the dumber stuff is after the jump.
– Promoted from the diaries by Rosi
Put aside the Blue Law issue. Put aside their defense of indefensible cuts to social services and education. And still, Bergen Republican leaders had a banner week – one that underscored a fundamental point: These folks are not ready for primetime.
The Bergen County Executive race is being overtaken by the plans of Governor Christie. First, the other day County Executive Dennis McNerney went after Kathleen Donovan over the “millionaire’s tax” invoking the NJ Transit fare hikes:
“Kathleen Donovan has been a politician for three decades, so she should know the ramifications mass transit fare hikes and massive education funding cuts will have for Bergen County taxpayers and their children,” McNerney said. “Ms. Donovan should join me in asking the Governor to reconsider his tax cut for the rich before they decide to make Bergen County’s middle class balance the state’s checkbook.”
Instead of asking the Governor to reconsider, she said placing undo burdens on some people hurts everyone. She wasn’t willing to stand up to her Governor, but the latest Christie proposal to get rid of the Blue Laws that keep businesses closed on Sundays in order to get the tax revenues has invaded the County Executive talk:
“Clearly, this is an issue that should and will be left to the voters,” said Donovan, who has said she would vote against the repeal. Donovan has also noted that the courts have upheld a local Paramus ordinance prohibiting work of any kind on Sundays.
That response didn’t end the issue as McNerney pressed further calling on Donovan to join him in demanding the removal of the proposal from the Governors budget altogether. The Blue Laws don’t necessarily break down along party lines and while they don’t make sense to many outside of Bergen County, there has always been a fight to get rid of them in the past. How much will Donovan stand up to her Governor in order to fight his plan? No doubt the Democrats will take every opportunity to raise the issue and make her stand up further than saying there should be a referendum. The Bergen County Republicans viewed this seat as an opportunity opportunity for a pickup, but Democrats have speculated the tide is turning as the Governor adds some extra hurdles in the race.
As the final weeks of the Republican primary unfold, Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan will be busy campaigning, trading criticisms of one another, and making the case on the air waves and the internet that they alone are best suited to take on Jon Corzine in this November’s gubernatorial election.
Corzine, and whoever wins the GOP nomination on Primary Day, will also undertake the historic task of selecting an individual to run as their respective party’s candidate to be the first Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey history. Below the fold is a list of ten possible Republican contenders. It is subjective and, more than anything, written to solicit the opinions of Blue Jersey readers on the strengths and weaknesses of each potential pick.
Please click the headline, read on, comment away, and look out this Thursday for an analysis of potential Democratic choices for Lieutenant Governor.