Winners and Losers: Week of July 14th

The state takes a lot of well-deserved hits, let’s face it.

But if you can shovel your way through the winters and the political sound-bites, you can get to the summers in New Jersey, which is where we are now – for another six or so glorious weeks.

Revel in them, if you can, even if Revel can’t.

And know that through all weather, PolitickerNJ will supply, yet again, another edition of Winners and Losers…

WINNERS

Steve Sweeney

As Atlantic City collapsed into the sea around them at a conference earlier this week, the Building Trades Council unanimously backed the senate president for governor in the name of building a stronger New Jersey.

Al Abdel-aziz and Nelly Hidalgo Celi

Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres this week appointed the vice chair of the Paterson Democratic Party and the former campaign manager of Councilman Andre Sayegh’s 2010 mayoral campaign to the Paterson Planning Board.

Scott Garrett

Met with a strong 5th District challenge by Democrat Roy Cho, the movement conservative congressman from Sussex County appears more than financially secure with $3.2 million cash on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Kathe Donovan

The incumbent Republican county executive from Bergen County doesn’t have whopping fundraising totals, but they’re better than her Democratic challenger, Jim Tedesco: $206,653, compared with $39,010 over the same time frame for the Tedesco campaign. 

Jon Hornik and Chris Smith

Competitive PolitickerNJ polls last week found the Marlboro mayor and Congressman from Hamilton to be respectively the best mayor and U.S. Representative from New Jersey. Both Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) stretched Hornik and Smith in the fun, unscientific polls but lost in the finals to the tournament winners.

IN LIMBO

Chris Christie

On the one hand, he looked like a fresh performer on the campaign trail in Iowa: slimmer and more tan and relentlessly on message: “I’m not running for president.” His incoming chief of staff’s underwhelming appearance before the Select Committee on Investigations (SCI) can infuriate Democrats and simply bolster his own resolve to keep her installed in the front office in the name of “Doing the right the right thing.” He also could thumb his nose at the committee behind the sturdy presence of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, who declared inaccurate an Esquire story asserting that indictments are imminent in the federal Bridgegate investigations. State party fundraising? Who cares that it’s moribund, he’s raising gobs of cash for the national GOP cow now. But he’s still hard-fronting a presidential vibe amid a lot of unresolved questions about his tenure – and everywhere he goes he drags the NJ economy like the second coming of Robert DeNiro in “The Mission.”

Regina Egea

The SCI this week reamed her for lack of curiosity and for accepting the spoon-fed dictums of discredited former Port Authority Deputy Director Bill Baroni, but that may be just the kind of partisan harrumphing Egea needs to stiffen the resolve of her stubborn boss (see above) in keeping her planted as his chief of staff.

Hillary Clinton

She convinced Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) that she’s been sufficiently penitent since she gave George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq, but Clinton – who appeared at a Bergen County book-signing Thursday evening – may yet have to convince other progressives who want U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to run for prez.

 

LOSERS

Party committees

Well, they were fun while they lasted, those big political organizing arms called – in the 20th Century – parties. Why have them when invisible independent expenditures can pump unlimited campaign funds, or so seems the trend revealed by this week’s state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) report. According to ELEC, the so-called “Big Six” fundraising committees in New Jersey reported the weakest combined campaign finance activity in at least eight years, a sign that independent spending by special interest groups may be taking a toll on traditional fundraising committees.

Atlantic City

This is spillover from last week, when the Trump and Showboat joined Revel in raising what looks like the white flag of surrender. For decades the destination point for busloads of North Jersey senior citizens looking to kill time, the down-on-its-heels resort town, a natural for any number of gutter ball mayors (with the exception of Jim Whelan), looks like it might have to finally man up and figure out how to take care of its own long-neglected local citizens.

John Bennett

We reported earlier this week that Hudson County GOP Chairman Jose Arango has the support of a majority of his peers to become the next chair of the Republican Party county chairs. Now we learn that the former senate president turned county party leader had the support of his fellow county chairs until Shaun Golden defeated him as Monmouth County GOP Chairman last month.

Bob Menendez                                                        

In an attempt to stare down federal investigations, the U.S. Senator has racked up $700,000 in legal bills, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

NJ.com

As it prepares to beef up its political coverage in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, the Newhouse group hired a Hollywood celebrity blogger as its “senior political reporter,” according to a report by former distinguished Ledger columnist Bob Braun.

Martin O’Malley

You talk to the guys he’s built relationships with here over the years and they all have a stack of Irish music CDs the Maryland governor made, a lot of praise for his guitar playing and singing – and no motivation to back him for president. The message seems to be that O’Malley should quit the politically dead-ended day job and focus on a rather promising career in folk rock.

"The governor still has to come to bat."
—Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, on Atlantic City.