Tag Archive: Upendra Chivukula

May 1 – CD12 Civil Rights Debate Hosted by ACLU-NJ

Want to know where Upendra Chivukula, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Linda Greenstein, Andrew Zwicker – and tea party Republican Alieta Eck – stand on privacy, LGBT rights, criminal justice reform and other topics? Yeah, so does ACLU-NJ. They’re sponsoring a debate focusing on civil rights issues featuring the 5 candidates vying for Rush Holt’s House seat,  which will be moderated by NJTV News anchor and managing editor Mike Schneider.

12th Congressional District Civil Rights and Liberties Debate

When: Thursday, May 1 – 7 to 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m)

Where: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton

50 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton, NJ 08540

Tickets free but seating is limited:  Register to attend

Also joining ACLU-NJ in sponsoring the event are American Friends Service Committee, Council on American-Islamic Relations New Jersey, Drug Policy Alliance, NAACP NJSC, Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Princeton, and YWCA Union County. Again, here’s the RSVP link.

ICYMI: CD12’s first TV spot is Upendra Chivukula’s

In the highly competitive CD12 Democratic primary, it’s Upendra Chivukula who is launching the first TV spot. Chivukula, in a tight 3-way primary with Asw Bonnie Watson Coleman and Sen. Linda Greenstein that also includes physicist Andrew Zwicker, will be up on cable TV with a buy campaign manager Henry de Koninck categorizes as six-figure.

The ad, called We Can’t Let It Happen Here, is dark and moody, mostly black-and-white, with a voice-over of the assemblyman discussing what it’s like in a country without social safety nets like Social Security, Medicare and a minimum wage, and with no equality for women. Both, he says, like the country he comes from (unnamed, but Chivukula was born in Nellore, India, got his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree in India and his Masters at City College of New York).

“I come from a country where, from the day you are born to the day you die, you are told your place.”

It’s an interesting focus, given that all three of the strongest Dems in the race could be classified as progressives for whom giving fellow Americans a leg up is a bedrock value, and whichever Dem that takes the primary likely wins the general. What do you think of the ad, Blue Jersey?

Below the fold, the websites for CD12 Dem primary candidates Chivukula, Greenstein, Watson Coleman and Zwicker.

CD12: Bonnie Watson Coleman reports Q1 fundraising

In the CD12 Democratic primary, Bonnie Watson Coleman is the first to trumpet her fundraising totals for the Q1 period that covers Jan. 1 to March 14, 2014. She reports raising more than $120,000 in 37 days:

  • Nearly 1,000 contributions;

  • 85% of contribs at less than $100; 90% at $250 or less & 94% at $500 or less;

  • Contribs from all 4 counties in CD12; Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Mercer.

    The low-dollar contributions may be key. That’s the way Rush Holt won the CD12 Democratic primary in 1998, in a very different landscape against Carl Mayer, who put hundreds of thousands of his own money in. Holt was able to demonstrate not only a viable campaign but one that was supported by a greater number of people. He went on to win the seat that year, and will retire after 8 terms in the House. It’s a one-two punch this week for the Watson Coleman campaign, which earlier reported promising internal poll numbers that showed a surge in her name-recognition since the campaign began, and a statistical dead-heat with Senator Linda Greenstein. Greenstein, who was the first to jump into the race following Rush Holt’s surprise retirement announcement, this week picked up a couple noticeable endorsements; Mercer-Burlington Building Trades Council, whose president is Greenstein’s district-colleague Asm Wayne DeAngelo will seek Greenstein’s seat if she wins the seat, and CWA Local 1036.

    CD12 is New Jersey’s best shot to send a woman to Congress, in a field that also includes Asm Upendra Chivukula, who I believe would be the first Indian-American ever in NJ’s congressional delegation. I don’t have figures yet for Greenstein and Chivukula; the filing deadline is April 15. This race, with just 60 days to go till the primary, still feels fluid.

    The Watson Coleman campaign also listed her recent endorsements, so I’ll post those below the fold.

  • 97 Years Ago Today: 1st Woman in Congress. Today: Zero Women in NJ’s Congressional Delegation.

    Ninety-seven years ago today Jeanette Rankin, a Republican and lifelong pacifist from Montana took her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first woman ever elected to Congress.

    Today, there are no women in NJ’s congressional delegation. And though women may find lawmakers who represent them well, there are no women whose footsteps can be followed to Washington. And emerging women candidates now training at Ready to Run or Teach a Girl to Lead or emergeNewJersey, women are missing from that powerful club on the Hill.

    But there’s a good chance we’ll change that this year. And the best opportunities are with Democratic candidates. Below the fold, an evaluation of where we stand a chance to send our Jeanette Rankin, or maybe even our Shirley Chisholm to the U.S. House. What do you think?

    CD12: Who gets PCDO’s endorsement to succeed Rush Holt?

    Throughout Rep. Rush Holt’s 8 terms in Congress, through a tough re-election campaign (his first) and through both redistrictings, Princeton has always been his strongest and most loyal base of support. It’s where a lot of the money comes from, and a lot of the volunteers. And the venerable PCDO – Princeton Community Democratic Organization – is its Democratic backbone.

    Last night, PCDO held an endorsement vote for CD12. Over 100 people showed up, and so did all 5 of the declared candidates – the two women increasingly squaring off against each other, Sen. Linda Greenstein and Asw Bonnie Watson Coleman, Assemblyman and 2012 CD7 candidate Asm Upendra Chivukula, and the two scientists who jumped into the race more recently, plasma physicist Andrew Zwicker and chemist Frank Gibson. Only paid-up members could vote, and each was scheduled to speak with Q & A to follow. It was a secret ballot vote.

    So, how did CD12’s Democratic primary candidates do in Rush Holt’s bedrock community? Well, the vote was inconclusive, given that a 60% vote was needed for endorsement. But the trend was clear. Vote totals, on the jump page.

    Primaries: Firecrackers, Duds and In Between

    We are three weeks away from the March 31 Nomination Petition Filing Deadline for the Primary Election, and the NJ Division of Elections lists only one candidate as of Sunday who has filed a petition. No fear, there is still time and there are many potential candidates, some undergoing review by their county party.

    In the House race there is one seat already vacant (Rob Andrews (D-CD 1), two seats where the incumbent is exiting at the end of his term – Jon Runyan (R-CD 3) and Rush Holt (D-CD 12) – a few which might be in play, and others cast in concrete. It is an unusual election because we will end up with at least three newly minted Representatives. We currently have six Democrats and six Republicans in our delegation. An early prediction: at worst we retain six Democratic seats, at best we gain one to two additional D’s with one or two much-needed women.

    In the Senate race according to a March Monmouth University poll incumbent Cory Booker “seems poised to defeat any Republican challenger in his bid for re-election this November. In a contest between him and conservative Republican challenger Murray Sabrin, Booker garners 58 percent of the vote as opposed to 25 percent for Sabrin.” Several Republican luminaries stuck their tow in the water and quickly removed it. Jeff Bell (R) who was Tea Party before the Tea Party existed is also a contender. Booker might end up having no Democrat as an opponent. Although the odds-on favorite, Booker sometimes underperforms in the final vote tally.

    Below the fold are brief comments on each of the twelve Congressional Districts.  

    CD12 Open Seat: Somerset Dems Endorse Chivukula for Congress

    Rush Holt’s unexpected announcement last week led to a little avalanche of potential candidates that quickly winnowed down to three who are the most serious, and best prepared; Senator Linda Greenstein, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula. The two women spent their week lining up support in their respective counties of Mercer and Middlesex in the biggest chunks of the district, Chivukula concentrated on making a case for himself as the candidate most like Holt, and best suited for this diverse district, loaded with institutions of higher learning with among the best-educated voters in the country. Chivukula, like Holt slender, formal, focused on energy sources and wonky, is an electrical engineer trying to follow in a physicist’s footsteps. Chivukula was the first Indian-American ever elected to the NJ Assembly, the fourth ever elected to state office in the country. If elected, he would be only the secondIndian-American serving in the House.

    He’s made far less news this week as the two women worked the phones, piling up more endorsements than he has. But today, Chivukula – who ran last cycle against Leonard Lance in CD7 – picked up a favorite son endorsement from Somerset County, part of which he represents in his LD17 legislative district. Chair Peg Schaffer describes the Somerset process as open, involving local leaders and resulting in a unanimous decision.

    From the endorsement:

    “It ultimately comes down to who is going to best replace such an esteemed public servant as Rush Holt, and we strongly believe Assemblyman Chivukula will pick up right where Congressman Holt left off. From his assembly leadership on science and technology issues to his progressive record on the environment, Assemblyman Chivukula is without question the natural fit to succeed Congressman Holt. Furthermore, he brings a thoughtful and solutions-oriented legislative approach to the table, which is sorely lacking in today’s House of Representatives. Making the change from scientist Rush Holt to engineer Upendra Chivukula keeps this seat in capable and like-minded hands.”

    Read Somerset County Democrats’ entire endorsement on the jump page.

    Buono’s pick in CD12 open seat primary: Bonnie Watson Coleman

    With investigations at both the state and federal level of the Christie administration scandals, and inquiries of abuse of power by the Governor himself, I wonder how many people are re-evaluating the 2013 contest between Chris Christie and Barbara Buono. It was the blowout that Chris Christie wanted, back in November when it looked like he could do anything 16 weeks ago or so. And it was the blowout some Democrats wanted, who quietly undermined Buono’s campaign and her authority as the campaign-year traditional leader of the NJ state Democrats. We now know that some of those Dem mayors who endorsed Christie may have been threatened, or made wild promises. And we knew all along that some of those Dem leaders who worked behind the scenes to weaken her position never wanted Buono to win, to improve their own position in the party’s food chain. And that, shamefully, they might have seen that as easy to do because the candidate they were undermining privately – while celebrating publicly – was a woman. That won’t be forgotten.

    That’s how I see the entirely predictable, and yet worth noting, endorsement by Buono of Bonnie Watson Coleman to win the CD12 Democratic primary and follow Rush Holt to Congress.

    Calling “Bonnie, Linda and Upendra” all long-time friends and trusted colleagues, Buono endorses her 2013 campaign chair, Bonnie Watson Coleman. From the endorsement:

    When I announced my run for Governor in December of 2012, very few people gave me much of a chance. Undaunted, I challenged the odds. When others stood down, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman stood shoulder to shoulder with me, providing counsel and holding the Governor accountable for his failed economic record and far right social agenda.

    Even as the days wore on and hope wore thin, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman continued to fight for the values that make up the core of our party.  More important, she did this when many others would not.

    Former NJ senator and gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono’s full endorsement is below the fold.

    And Now There Are Three

    In the upcoming N. J. elections for the U. S. House of Representatives there are now three vacant seats. These Representatives have announced their resignations: Rob Andrews (D-CD1) first elected 1990, Rush Holt (D-CD12) first elected in 1998, and Jon Runyan (R-CD3) first elected 2010. Soon Democrats may take over a Republican seat, retain two Democratic seats with new members, and add two women to our delegation.

    This is an unusual opportunity. In several recent past election there have been no vacancies and all incumbents have been re-elected. In a few past elections there has been one vacancy. For two vacancies you have to go back to 2008 – Mike Ferguson (R) succeeded by Leonard Lance (R) and Jim Saxton (R) succeeded by John Adler (D) – and 1996, Robert Torricelli (D) succeeded by Steve Rothman (D) and Dick Zimmer (R) succeeded by Mike Pappas (R). You have to go back to 1992 when there were three or more vacancies. In that election (22 years ago) there were actually four vacancies (Dwyer, Rinaldo, Roe, and Guarini.)

    See more about this opportunity below the fold.

    Just Tweeted These 4 Fun Polar Vortex Experiments to @RushHolt & @UChivukulaNJ

    Because if you can’t try to distract busy scientist lawmakers from the important business of the day during a cold snap, then what’s your frozen Tuesday for?

    Physicist congressman @RushHolt hasn’t shown up on Twitter yet today. But @UChivukulaNJ, electrical engineer, took to Twitter today both to share articles about the polar vortex, and to express concern for the shivering central Jersey residents he represents.

    It’s 9 degrees outside and some of my windows, the ones without storm windows, are frosted on the inside. I’d cheerfully go out and try some of these fun cold-snap experiments, but that would require me to put down my hot tea, shuck off the 90 afghans I’m under and go outside. Screw that. I’m not that dedicated to either science or fun, but maybe Asm Chivukula or Rep. Holt – or you – are. Frozen bubbles. Instant snow. Maple syrup taffy. Frozen eggs. From Gothamist.