Morning News Digest: June 6, 2012
By Missy Rebovich
Pascrell expresses his gratitude to home crowd: ‘We still look out for the little guy’
Self professed Jersey Guy U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell came into the strains of Rocky and heartily embraced his home county crowd tonight in victory.
“We did it!” Pascrell shouted here in the gym at the downtown community college.
“My friends, I pray to God for all of you. You are the reason I am here. I wouldn’t be here without you,” Pascrell said, standing with Elsie, his wife of 48 years. “I’ve always had your back. You had my back in this election. Thank you.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Rothman on campaign tactics: ‘I don’t want to go there’
Much of the focus following U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman’s defeat tonight to Rep. Bill Pascrell will be on the style of campaign, namely, the negative campaigning.
Rothman, who gave up a challenge to U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett in the newly configured 5th District to challenge Pascrell went negative early, a tactic that cost him goodwll with some in the party and may have cost him his seat in Congress.
“I don’t want to go there,” Rothman told PolitickerNJ after being asked to discuss his campaign in the hotly contested district. (Arco, PolitickerNJ)
Payne: “I stand on my own two feet”
The son also rises.
Primary election night was a night where Donald Payne Jr. was put on a path to succeed his congressman father and namesake who died just three months ago after a bout with colon cancer that claimed the elder at 77 years old and after 23 years in the seat.
“We’re going to D.C.!”
That was the impromptu shout-out that kicked off the victory party for Payne Jr.’s CD10 Democratic primary campaign inside the vacant storefront that served as South Ward headquarters for the campaign. (Hooker, PolitickerNJ)
State Sen. Kyrillos wins GOP nomination for U.S. Senate seat, will challenge Sen. Menendez
Campaign ads played on a loop in the reception room decorated with red, white and blue balloons at state Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ primary night party. The only thing missing was the suspense.
Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) has won the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in November.
“Bob Menendez,,” Kyrillos said, eliciting “boos” from the volunteers lawmakers and donors gathered at the PNC Bank Arts Center. “Some would use much harsher words, but even Democrats think that Bob Menendez is mediocre. Bob Menendez is a mediocre Senator. We deserve much better.” (Portnoy and Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
Kyrillos jabs Sen. Menendez as new campaign begins
The Republican challenger for U.S. Senate claimed victory in his party’s primary by unleashing a short but sharp-tongued attack on the Democratic incumbent, signaling the start of the state’s highest profile general election campaign.
State Sen. Joe Kyrillos said policies that Sen. Bob Menendez supports have led to a struggling economy, unemployment and soaring national debt.
“Some would use much harsher words, but even Democrats think that Bob Menendez is mediocre,” Kyrillos said after defeating three little-known candidates Tuesday to capture the GOP nomination. “We deserve much better.” (Delli Santi, Associated Press)
Boteach easily wins GOP primary; will face Pascrell in new 9th District
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an author and media personality, topped two opponents to become the Republican candidate in the new 9th Congressional District, saying he would begin his campaign by meeting Wednesday with officials in Israel to talk about human rights abuses by the Syrian government.
“My campaign starts in the morning,” he said by phone from Israel, where he was attending his sister-in-law’s wedding.
Boteach said he would make human rights an issue in the campaign. He also said his refusal to talk about divisive social issues such as gay marriage would help him in the general election against Rep. Bill Pascrell of Paterson in the heavily-Democratic district. (Koloff and Ensslin, The Record)
Teaneck official wins Democratic primary, will challenge U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett in November
Adam Gussen, Teaneck’s deputy mayor, has won the Democratic nomination to take on U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett in the 5th Congressional District.
Gussen, defeated Jason Castle, a marine Iraq war veteran. Gussen has an uphill battle against Garrett in November, since the district leans Republican.
Democrats had hoped to compete in the 5th District after redistricting made it slightly more friendly to them than it had been before. But they suffered a string of recruitment failures after U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9th Dist.), whose hometown of Fair Lawn had been moved into the 5th District, opted instead to move into his former hometown of Englewood and run in the primary for the heavily Democratic 9th District. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
With few surprises in NJ primaries, battle lines drawn for fall
Other than two closely watched Democratic races in North Jersey, which resulted in surprisingly large margins of victory, the rest of the state’s primary contests yesterday went as expected with every incumbent easily moving on to the general election.
That’s when the spotlight will shift to the U.S. Senate race, which had one of the most lackluster primary challenges in recent memory. Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez was unchallenged and while four Republicans were on the ballot, there was never a doubt that state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) would win. (O’Dea, NJ Spotlight)
Payne Jr. on path to take over his father’s congressional seat
Newark City Council President Donald Payne Jr. proved yesterday that the son also rises, rolling to the Democratic nomination to replace his late father in Congress.
“I have been standing on my own two feet for a long time,” Payne told a cheering crowd of about 250 supporters at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.
Payne captured about 60 percent of the vote, besting five other candidates for the privilege of running in November to replace his father, the late Donald Payne Sr., New Jersey’s first African-American congressman who died last March. (Tyrrell, NJ Spotlight)
Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce wins Republican nomination for race to fill husband’s Assembly seat
Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Morris) has won a primary challenge and will run as the Republican nominee in a special election in November to serve out the second year of her late husband’s Assembly term.
Longtime Assemblyman Alex DeCroce died in January, and his widow took over the seat.
The 26th District encompasses areas of Essex, Morris and Passaic counties and is Republican dominated. (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)
U.S. Rep. Lance fends off Republican primary challenge
U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance has fended off a Republican primary challenge by conservative businessman David Larsen.
Lance (R-7th Dist.) is seeking his third term in this central Jersey district, which gained Republican voters after the state redrew its congressional district boundaries.
Larsen ran to Lance’s right, accusing the congressman of taking conservative positions only when politically suitable. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
Tea Party favorite Anna Little wins primary, will challenge U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone
Anna Little will get a re-match against U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) in November.
Little, a former Highlands mayor and Monmouth County freeholder, won the Republican nomination over rival Ernesto Cullari.
Little ran unsuccessfully against Pallone in 2010, but her campaign garnered attention across the state because of her popularity with the tea party movement. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
Sires wins expected landslide in Democratic primary for 8th Congressional District
Democratic voters delivered the expected landslide victory to U.S. Rep. Albio Sires of West New York today as their candidate for the 8th Congressional District in the November election.
Sires, 61, ran against Jersey City resident Michael J. Shurin, 25, a former Republican whose one campaign issue grabbed the attention of some Hudson County: the legalization of marijuana.
Sires is seeking is fourth term in Congress after serving three terms representing the 13th Congressional District, which was redistricted. (Hack, The Jersey Journal)
Teacher who challenged Gov. Christie at town hall meeting wins Democratic Assembly primary
Marie Corfield, an elementary school art teacher who had a brush with fame when her YouTube showdown with Gov. Chris Christie went viral, will get another crack at an Assembly seat.
Corfield, who ran for Assembly last year and lost by a narrow margin, beat opponent Sue Nemeth in today’s Democratic primary and will run again in November against Republican incumbent Donna Simon.
The special election opened up after the late Assemblyman Peter Biondi (R-Somerset) died just two days after winning reelection. Republicans appointed Simon (R-Hunterdon) to fill the seat temporarily. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)
Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage wins primary over former top deputy
Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage handily won the Democratic primary Tuesday night, defeating a former top deputy and all but guaranteeing his reign over New Jersey’s fourth-largest city will extend into a sixth term.
Twenty years after toppling longtime political boss Thomas Dunn, the 57-year-old Bollwage continued to be virtually unbeatable, securing nearly 75 percent of votes following a fiercely fought race. He received 7,279 votes, while his opponent, Oscar Ocasio, received just 2,547, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night by City Clerk Yolanda Roberts. (Hutchins, The Star-Ledger)
40 sign up to run as third-party candidates in November
Inder Soni says he’s prepared to debate anyone in the world on economic policy. Jack Freudenheim plans to neutralize his opponents’ big-money donations with social media savvy. And Ken Wolski has been crisscrossing the state, visiting college campuses and hitting the festival circuit to enlist supporters.
The odds are long, but this year’s independent candidates for Congress are a resilient bunch.
Forty people signed up to run as third-party candidates by the deadline Tuesday, according to the state Division of Elections. Of those, 10 are vying for the U.S. Senate seat held by the Democrat Robert Menendez, and 30 threw their hats into the ring for House seats. (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)
New Jersey economy came in 47th in nation for 2011
Governor Christie’s vision of a “New Jersey Comeback” — the huge economic rebound he says will make a 10 percent income tax cut affordable — was challenged Tuesday by a double dose of bad news.
The federal government released data indicating the state’s economy shrank by 0.5 percent in 2011, even as 43 states saw their economies grow last year, with the state ranked 47th in economic performance.
Also on Tuesday, a non-partisan state legislative budget analyst told New Jersey lawmakers in an email that a gap between earlier budget projections and actual tax collections may now be as wide as $1.4 billion through the end of June 2013, a development the governor’s office later downplayed. (Reitmeyer and Lynn, The Record)
New Jersey’s tax revenue missed analyst’s projections
New Jersey collected less tax revenue during May than projected by the Legislature’s chief fiscal analyst, according to a memo sent to lawmakers.
Revenue for fiscal 2012, which ends June 30, will now probably be $50 million to $100 million below an earlier forecast, David Rosen of the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services said in the note obtained by Bloomberg News. Rosen declined to comment when reached by telephone.
The May shortfall means revenue through June 2013 may lag behind Governor Chris Christie’s initial projections by as much as $1.4 billion, compared with Rosen’s $1.3 billion estimate two weeks ago. Christie, 49, a first-term Republican, has traveled the state to promote his “Jersey Comeback,” a turnaround he has said will let the state raise spending while cutting income taxes 10 percent over three years. (Dopp, Bloomberg)
N.J. Democrats negotiating on a budget compromise that includes millionaire’s tax
As the revenue outlook continues to weaken, Democrats in the Senate and the Assembly have begun negotiations on a budget compromise that includes moving forward with a millionaire’s tax to pay for tax relief or delaying proposed tax cuts until the state’s fiscal condition becomes clearer, The Star-Ledger has learned.
The negotiations mark the first time that Senate President Stephen Sweeney and other Senate leaders are considering the millionaire’s tax sought by their colleagues in the Assembly, according to sources familiar with negotiations who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to talk publicly. (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)
New Jersey university overhaul faces key test
Battle lines were drawn more sharply Tuesday over the proposed overhaul of New Jersey’s public universities a day before the plan faces a key test: votes by Rutgers’ two governing bodies.
Two former governors lent their support to legislation introduced Monday to enact the proposal, and a legal opinion commissioned by its backers sought to sideline a center of opposition, the Rutgers University Board of Trustees.
Some trustees, however, held out the threat of litigation, and a legislative opponent lashed out at a prime backer of the plan. (Osborne and Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Vitale: Support for university reorganization a matter of what’s best for health care, N.J.
Saying it took agreeing in principle up front, and hashing out the details later, state Sen. Joseph F. Vitale (D-Woodbridge) joined other prominent Senate Democrats late Monday in introducing legislation aimed at solving the reorganization puzzle of higher education in New Jersey.
“I’ve been working on the issue for several months, and having discussions with the Senate president and others who are interested in this issue,” Vitale said. “As chairman of the health committee, I felt involved from the health care perspective — which is medical education throughout the state to elevate that — and also University Hospital, and how we can make that an even better institution.” (Caliendo, NJBIZ)
Crucial vote set on legislation aimed at reviving solar sector
With a crucial vote on a new bill to prop up the solar industry in New Jersey possible as early tomorrow, a trade group yesterday warned it could cost consumers at least $300 million annually, and possibly as much as $400 million.
The Retail Energy Supply Association, an organization whose members provide electricity to residents and businesses who shop around for cheaper prices than what their incumbent utilities offer, is seeking amendments to a bill (A-2966) scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee on Thursday. (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)
In survey, CEOs say economy is stabilizing, but few plan to hire
Top executives in New Jersey say their businesses and the state economy are becoming more stable, but a majority report plummeting sales volumes are affecting job creation, according to a quarterly survey of confidence among CEOs and chief financial officers.
“Everyone knows someone who is unemployed,” said Ren Cicalese, managing shareholder of Alloy, Silverstein, Shapiro, Adams, Mulford, Cicalese, Wilson & Co., which conducted the survey, released Thursday. “But executives are worried about their sales declining, so they’re holding positions more conservatively. We had a brief glimpse at optimism earlier in the year, but the many negative reports have belittled it.” (Eder, NJBIZ)
Agenda: State Board of Education
What they are doing: It’s a busy agenda for the State Board this month, from broad policy discussions around the achievement gap and early literacy to key personnel decisions and public hearings on new regulations for charter schools and inter-district school choice. The board will also consider two resolutions to accept money from outside private foundations.
The board’s power: The state board has seen its power and influence wane over the past two decades, its meeting becoming anti-climactic as it largely went along with the administration at the time. Of late, it has been finding its voice, as evidenced by it taking up big policy issues on its own, as well as handling the usual code and regulations. But at the same time, Gov. Chris Christie has flexed his muscle in his appointments to the board, with now six of the 13 members appointed by the governor. On the agenda today will be nominations to the next board officers, potentially a test for current president, Arcelio Aponte. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)
N.J. AG: Probe into state police troopers’ beating mentally disabled man was overdue
The investigation into the beating of a mentally disabled man at the hands of State Police troopers has taken too long, and new procedures are already in place to hasten reviews of misconduct allegations, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said Tuesday.
“I want to make sure we’re handling these cases responsibly,” Chiesa told The Star-Ledger. “Each case we review is different, so what’s important to me is we act on complete information, and we take our responsibility to move these cases along in an expeditious fashion seriously.” (Baxter, The Star-Ledger)
Developers, regulators unite on rules to speed minicipal review of building plans
A new rule proposed by the state would require local code officials to review a developer’s building plans and respond with recommendations within 20 business days.
The new regulation by the Department of Community Affairs would streamline the local approval process and add predictability to commercial developments, a panel of experts said today at an event hosted by the New Jersey chapter of commercial real estate development association NAIOP. The provision would be especially helpful to tenant fit-out projects, they said. (Burd, NJBIZ)
NY mayor, Port Authority: Deal near on stalled Sept. 11 museum at World Trade Center site
Officials from both sides of a dispute that has slowed work at a Sept. 11 museum that is to tell the stories of the dead and provide a final resting place for unidentified human remains said Tuesday that they’re close to an agreement to resume construction.
“We’re down to a few things, a very small amount of money where we disagree,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, speaking of the disagreement between the foundation that controls the memorial and museum and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site. Bloomberg is chairman of the foundation. (Associated Press)
Muslim civil rights group suing NYPD over surveillance
A national Muslim civil rights organization plans to file a lawsuit against the New York Police Department today in Newark in response to its surveillance of Muslim-Americans in mosques, businesses and student groups.
Muslim Advocates, suing on behalf of at least eight New Jersey plaintiffs, alleges that the NYPD violated constitutional rights of Muslims when it targeted them for surveillance allegedly based on their religion and without evidence of wrongdoing. The group plans to file the complaint at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Newark, followed by a press conference in New York at 10 a.m. (Adely and Clunn, The Record)
Senators introduce bills concerning gas pipelines, minimum wage, ticket sales, more
Bills and resolutions dealing with school-supplied computers, gas pipelines and ticket sales via computer were among those introduced today in the Legislature. (Mooney, State Street Wire)
Florio: Higher-ed ‘master plan’ needed
Former Gov. Jim Florio, who has taught for many years at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, expressed his support today for Senate legislation concerning the higher education merger plan between Rutgers University and Rowan University. (Hassan, State Street Wire)
Reaction to OLS’ figures fall along party lines
Lawmakers’ reaction to the latest Office of Legislative Services’ revenue figures depended on which side of the aisle they sit.
Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge, chair of the upper chamber Budget Committee, said, “Clearly the revenues in New Jersey are still struggling. (Mooney, State Street Wire)
Audit finds workers comp overpayments
The Risk Management Division has had several cases of overpayments in workers compensation cases and provided compensation to claimants who were not supposed to receive them over the last few years, a state audit has found.
Among other things, the audit found that 15 people were receiving temporary compensation when they were earning money from a job other than a state job. (Hassan, State Street Wire)
From the Back Room
Yudin loses committee seat
Embattled Bergen County Republican Committee Chairman Bob Yudin has lost his committee seat in his hometown of Wyckoff.
Yudin is facing a challenge later this month to his chairmanship. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
NJ primary takeaway
Well, not everything turned out as I expected, but I’ll fall back on the fact that I called the winner in every raced involving someone who will actually serve in Congress next year. (How’s that for spin?)
On the headline event of the night, I was right on the winner, Bill Pascrell, but no one – including the victor’s camp – ever dreamed of the numbers he would put up in Passaic County. Steve Rothman’s negative campaign led to the expected low turnout in Bergen, but not in Passaic, where Pascrell’s ground game – aided by Bill Clinton’s endorsement – contributed to the stunner of the night. (Murray for PolitickerNJ)
Dems to Christie: Tell us when you leave town
Perhaps you are more focused on the bill that would totally revamp the state’s higher education system and Rutgers University, which we wrote about today, here.
But moving faster through the Legislature is another bill aimed squarely at Gov. Christie’s political travels. It requires that legislative leaders be notified every time the governor leaves the state so they’re aware that the lieutenant governor is running the show. The bill passed a legislative committee yesterday, and was lampooned by the Star-Ledger editorial board today as partisan gamesmanship. (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)