Tag Archive: NJ-9

Sheldon Adelson: Kyrillos, Boteach & Romney

Yesterday, Bill Orr walked you through Sheldon Adelson’s superPAC Patriot Prosperity and why so few voters know anything about how reliant Joe Kyrillos and Shmuley Boteach are on its money.

Today, we find out via AP that Adelson is also the top money man bankrolling both Mitt Romney and also organizations shoveling money into the Romney coffers. That makes Adelson Romney’s main man. His homie. His BFF. Adelson is into Romney to the tune of $34.2 million:

Adelson is the largest declared donor to the Romney campaign and supporting political committees, providing more than $34.2 million this election season. He and his wife, Miriam, a physician who heads the Nevada-based Adelson Drug Clinic, have given $10 million to the Restore Our Future, a super PAC backing Romney. Adelson also joined relatives to give $24 million to committees backing former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. And he has made public pledges vowing to give $10 million to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC and as much as $100 million this election more broadly to the GOP. Worth an estimated $25 billion, Adelson oversees the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which runs casino and resort interests in Las Vegas, Singapore and Bethlehem, Pa., and Sands China Ltd., a cluster of casinos in the Chinese territory of Macau. He would benefit from loosened trade restrictions and a rise in the Chinese currency rate against the dollar. His company devoted $60,000 this year to lobby on tax issues, foreign tourist visas, travel and Internet gambling issues – and has spent $1.86 million lobbying on legislation dealing with China trade, gambling and travel since 2002. A staunch supporter of Israel, he also is a contributor to the Republican Jewish Coalition, which spent $920,000 since 2002 backing bills aimed at pressuring Iran and enhancing U.S. security cooperation with Israel. Adelson’s casino company has advised shareholders that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investigators were said to be focusing on the Macau casinos and reports of missing money and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

With one exception, Robert T. Rowling who is 58, Romney’s money men are all white guys and business tycoons in their 70’s and 80’s, including William Koch, brother to Americans for Prosperity’s David and Charles Koch.

Adelson is worth about $25 Billion, so he’s got the cheddar to push his choice of candidates over yours unless you – we – counter with our own boots on the ground, voter contact on the phone, word-of-mouth and advocacy. But you knew that already.

One thing you might not realize, if you gamble out of state, that if you drive over to Bethlehem, PA, and lay your money down at the Sands – which is what Bethlehem has now instead of steel mills employing a generation of workers arching into the American Dream – you’re handing your money to Sheldon Adelson, and now we knew who he hands his money to.  

In the ‘Hard E-mails to Write’ Category …

Pascrell fundraising letter by Rothman

In the inboxes of Democrats all over New Jersey today is a fundraising appeal for Rep. Bill Pascrell from, and including a picture of, Steve Rothman.

Not very long ago, these men were locked into one of the most unpleasant and painful primary battles in the country; two colleagues on equal footing and similar backgrounds whose teams were merciless on each other. I’ll spare you the links; we all remember and we’re all still recovering. Pascrell won the duel, and barring a big-ass asteroid slamming into the Earth, will remain in Congress. Rothman, left politically homeless by redistricting and primary defeat, is at the end of more than 25 years in elected office.

But he’s still a congressman for a few months longer. And his name and requests still mean a great deal to NJ Democrats. There’s something very welcome in this email for one old friend, from another. Wounds not exactly healed, and maybe never, but circles coming around.

Full email is after the jump, including where to send campaign contributions to the NJ-9 Democratic nominee for Congress, Bill Pascrell.

NJ-9 Debate Schedule: Pascrell v. Boteach

For those of you tracking the Bill Pascrell v. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach race in the redistricted 9th Congressional District, we now have a debate schedule. Both candidates have now signed off on this 3-part matchup:

Sunday, October 14, 2012 – 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Temple Sinai of Bergen County

One Engle Street, Tenafly, NJ

Co-sponsored Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Jewish Community Relations Council & The Jewish Standard

Hosted by local synagogues

Monday, October 22, 2012 – 7:00 – 8:00pm

Daniel F. Ryan School No. 19 City of Passaic

320 Highland Avenue, Passaic, NJ

Sponsored by North Jersey Media Group

Thursday, October 25, 2012 – 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Gallery 1&9

1 Remsen Pl. #107 Ridgefield, NJ

Sponsored by Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE)

Dems divided by the primary contest between Pascrell and his colleague Rep. Steve Rothman may be particularly interested in uniting behind the Democratic nominee as he goes up against Boteach (pronounced bo-TAY-ahck) – celebrity rabbi, advisor to the late Michael Jackson and author of the book Kosher Sex.

I know I’ve picked a side.  

Clint Eastwood’s Empty Chair, Meet Shmuley Boteach’s Empty Suit

So here comes the GOP CD9 candidate, celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach, burning through a little of that Sheldon Adelson money with this campaign ad. Remind you a little of somebody’s empty chair? HuffPo thought so.

Actually, I was reminded more of a famous ad by Bill Hillsman who helped get a little-known short, scrappy college professor named Paul Wellstone elected to the Senate in 1990. It was Hillsman who brought that wobbly hand-held camera work to political ads, the “look” made famous the year before by Michael Moore, when he and his camera were looking for GM’s exec in Roger and Me. Hillsman, whose famous Looking for Rudy ad had the challenger Wellstone asking people where to find the incumbent opponent. Boteach’s (surprisingly unengaging) anti-Pascrell borrows pretty heavily, no?

I’ll post the Hillsman/Wellstone ad I think Boteach leans heavily on after the jump. Tell me if I’m wrong.

Want to see a more innovative ad? Jump with me …

CD9: Pascrell gets air support from Rep. John Lewis, Team Rothman says Lewis was “duped”

Few things carry the power of a call in support for a candidate from a respected leader. Fewer things are more tricky to overcome for an opponent than a call from a respected leader that comes as your voters are headed to the polls. That may be the effect that Georgia congressman John Lewis’ robo-call into CD9 for Bill Pascrell this morning may have. (call text below the fold) This follows an ugly night of concern by Team Rothman of vote tampering, a charge by Team Pascrell of racism in Rothman’s ranks, then this morning that robo-call for Pascrell from a fellow House Democrat who sat at Martin Luther King’s right hand and carries great credibility in matters of racism. But Team Rothman says Lewis was “duped”:

“What a shameful, shameful, terrible act of desperation by the Pascrell campaign. Shameful. It’s shameful he was duped like that. You’re supposed to be able to examine vote for mail ballots before they’re opened. But that’s okay, we’re feeling good. We’re confident it’s going to be a good day.”

Last night, CD9 was New Jersey’s election flashpoint. A lawyer for the Steve Rothman campaign raised a red flag about possible irregulaties, including a Paterson storefront covered in Pascrell signs where passers-by were being told they could fill out vote-by-mail ballots inside. Rothman’s campaign wanted more time to examine the ballots before they were opened. Passaic County Elections Superintendent Robert J. DeMers Jr. ordered the ballots impounded. But late last night that order was vacated by a Superior Court Judge. That judge gave the Rothman campaign a 90-minute head start this morning at 6am, before the Board of Elections opening and counting them at 7:30am.  

Bill Pascrell in NJ-9

In exactly 24 hours, the polls will close for this year’s Primary Election, and those of us who actually live in NJ-9 will be glad it’s over. By most accounts, this race looks to be very close, and will turn on which candidate gets his supporters to the polls. As a 9th District voter, I endorsed Bill Pascrell early on. And, having been bombarded by Steve Rothman’s increasingly dishonest and negative campaign, I’m proud that I did, and proud to be joined in that endorsement by much of organized labor, The Star Ledger and most recently, The Record.

Yet, to listen to the Rothman campaign (and no, I don’t mean its over-eager surrogates), one would conclude that Pascrell is anti-choice, anti-environment, anti-gay, and essentially unworthy of the office. The Rothman mailers keep arriving each day, and each with a new outrageous claim. But, when you look at the facts, Bill Pascrell has a long record of being pro-choice, a stellar environmental record, and has been fighting for equality for gay families since long before the marriage equality debate even made it to the mainstream.

The fact is both candidates have similar voting records in Congress, as loyal democrats on issues ranging from choice, civil rights, taxes, the environment, etc. Pascrell has gotten higher marks from labor groups, including police, firemen and teachers, because he has more consistently supported worker’s rights, and more strongly opposed outsourcing jobs to other countries. (I guess Pascrell should be sending out mail calling Rothman a job-killer who hates America, but he has stuck to a more positive campaign about his own service and abilities rather than going negative by twisting the truth.) Any honest assessment of their voting records would reveal them to be similarly progressive.

So, without substantial differences on the progressive-o-meter, yes I do think we’re free to look at other factors beyond “issues” – much as progressive voters will be doing in NJ-10 and LD-16. Members of Congress do a lot more than just cast votes – from constituent services, to accessibility, to supporting local parties and candidates, to advocating/supporting cleaner more open government, or people-power, to other intangibles that should matter to all progressives.

A big issue early on – whether Rothman should have even engaged this race, rather than running in the District where he lived – remains an issue today. Putting aside the gratuitous name-calling that prevailed at the start of the campaign, Rothman’s decision not to run in a 70% Bergen County District, with only a slight (51-49%) Republican lean, against far and away the worst Congressman for progressives in New Jersey, Scott Garrett, matters.

So, when Pascrell says he is “a fighter who will stand toe-to-toe with the tea party,” I get why the Rothman partisans might be upset by the contrast. But it’s there, and it’s obvious, and it matters. We went from the real possibility of a 7-5 delegation, with a well-funded, well-known, Bergen County incumbent challenging Garrett, to a guaranteed 6-6 delegation that still includes Garrett. That doesn’t make Rothman a coward or a wimp or a schmuck – it just makes him the guy who declined to take on Garrett, and chose instead to run against a fellow democratic incumbent in a primary.

Add it all up, and for me, the choice is clear: I hope my fellow 9th District voters join me in supporting Bill Pascrell in NJ-9.

Bill Clinton endorses Bill Pascrell

We’ve been waiting for this one.

In 2008, when almost all of New Jersey’s Democratic County Chairs, Governor Corzine and a raft of the Garden State’s packlike Democratic electeds were supporting Hillary Clinton, Steve Rothman stuck his neck out for Barack Obama. I remember the Democratic State Conference that year in Atlantic City, when one by one at a luncheon each member of the Democratic congressional delegation stepped up to the microphone, to predictable enthusiastic clapping from the faithful. Rothman used his time at the podium to deliver a speech outlining why Barack Obama should win, and why he was going to. You could have heard a pin drop. Stunning. That speech was chattered about all day in the hallways, where the real convos happen. It cheeky, particularly given Hillary Clinton’s appearance later during that same convention (if I remember right).

Flash forward. Rothman became Northeast Regional Co-Chair of Obama’s campaign, Hillary took New Jersey (by 10 points), but Obama’s soaring messaging and better ground game took the nomination. Bill Clinton, politically loyal where his wife’s fortunes are concerned, remembers who stood by her. This is the biggest endorsement so far on either side in the CD9 primary. Will Obama now endorse?

Here’s the Team Pascrell’s statement, with quotes both from President Clinton, and from candidate Rep. Bill Pascrell:


“I know Bill Pascrell, and he is the fighter we need to support President Obama. Bill helped write President Obama’s health care law, he’s a leader protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and he never stops fighting for the middle class.  Nothing is more important to Bill than creating jobs in New Jersey. I saw that in the eight years we worked together to build unprecedented prosperity for America. We can’t afford to lose his ideas, energy, and experience just when they’re needed most.”


“I am honored to have the support of Bill Clinton. Fighting side by side with President Clinton, our nation achieved tremendous prosperity and a balanced budget. Today, the Republicans are promoting the same George Bush policies that ended President Clinton’s era of prosperity – special interest tax breaks, tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts in  education and job training, all leading to record deficits.  Those policies failed, but the Tea Party Republicans want to bring them all back and that’s why I’m running, to stop the Tea Party.”

A Primary? What Do We Do?

It has taken me two full weeks to write this diary. Forgive me if it wasn’t worth the wait.

In 2008, New Jersey democrats got to participate in the historic Presidential Primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The energy and excitement that primary created was extraordinary, and belied all the usual complaints about how terrible primaries are for the party. Still, it’s been over 6 years since I wrote Primaries Benefit Democracy (and don’t hurt candidates), and our 2008 experience did little to change the general consensus that primaries are bad, bad, bad. While primaries may be legal, in New Jersey they remain politically unsafe and rare.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to Presidential-Primary-free 2012: suddenly, we’ve got a bunch of primaries! Each with unique circumstances, but all competitive affairs that beg the question: with so little experience engaging in primaries, do progressives even know what to do when we have them?

This June 5th, courtesy of redistricting, the Democratic Party will be experiencing the unusual: multiple competitive primaries. In many cases, the primary will have the effect of determining who will ultimately be elected in November. From CD-9 to CD-10 to the special election in LD-16, and some others, democrats have the rare opportunity to actually choose from among ourselves who we want to serve.

Sure, it’s easy when there’s a bad guy involved, or a crook. We can just support the good guy/gal. No problem! But, what happens when there are multiple “good guys” (and women) running? Primaries are so very rare in our party, some democrats and many progressives would rather sit it out, and just focus on November.

I think that’s a mistake. And here’s why.

St. Patrick’s Day-After: Bill Pascrell with Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams

Bill Pascrell is getting his Irish on this Sunday afternoon. Actually, he’s getting his Northern-Irish on. Pascrell is doing a meet-and-greet in a restaurant-bar in Carlstadt with Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, the second largest political party in Northern Ireland and the largest nationalist party, and a party and movement with deep left wing history.

I have to go be a Hunterdon Democrat on Sunday afternoon, or I would absolutely be there. Gerry Adams is a very interesting guy. (Here’s some of his writing at The Guardian). My father talked to him several times and I’ve always wanted to meet him. If you go, I want pictures.

Meet-and-greet with Rep. Bill Pascrell and guest Gerry Adams

WHEN:  Sunday, March 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Grasshopper Also

645 Washington Ave.


CD9: NJTV Interview with Steve Rothman

Rep. Steve Rothman, locked with Bill Pascrell into what has so far been a painful Democratic primary to watch in CD9, sat for an interview with Mike Schneider, host of NJ Today, NJTV’s nightly public affairs show airing last night.

Schneider gets right into the question the Pascrell campaign has hammered Rothman for weeks, why he chose to run in the CD9 instead of CD5 which is where congressional redistricting placed his Fairlawn home (now up for sale, he’s moved back to Englewood in the 9th, where he used to be mayor). Schneider also asks Rothman for a rundown of the votes and issues that differentiate his record from Pascrell’s. Rothman says progressive Democrats are going to determine who wins the Democratic primary. And to Schneider’s question about reports Rothman sent letters to Republican Orthodox rabbis asking them to register to vote for him in the Democratic primary, Rothman said the letters were paid for by the campaign, but the idea generated amongst the rabbis themselves. But I don’t want to talk/write through it when you can be watching.

NJ Today:

Watch Steve Rothman Defends Decision to Run in Ninth District on PBS.  See more from WNJT.