The five best political campaigns of 2013
If you’re a political junkie or even someone with just a passing affinity for the sport, this year was a goldmine. It featured several terrific campaigns at every level of government and included some truly virtuoso performances. Whittling to our…
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Posted: December 11th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: 2013 Election, Opinion | Tags: NJNewsCommons | No Comments »
Governor Chris Christie’s post-election attempt to replace Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr with Senator Kevin O’Toole was not a matter of Christie doing Senate President Steve Sweeney’s bidding, as has been widely perceived, but the culmination of a months long battle over differing strategies over how to wage the legislative campaign.
That Christie was unable to persuade Senate Republicans to dump Kean as their leader in favor of O’Toole was viewed by the media and political observers as a shocking act of defiance of the governor by the caucus viewed as obedient followers. But insiders say the united Republican front portrayed to the public masked an ongoing dispute between Kean’s and Christie’s political teams that resulted in Christie’s landslide reelection yielding no pick up of seats in the Senate.
Early on in the campaign, the Christie campaign concluded winning a majority in the State Senate, picking up 5 seats, was unlikely given the legislative map and the resources that South Jersey Democrats and their Independent Expenditure supporters were known to be deploying to defend their turf. Team Christie devised a strategy of winning a “functional majority,” by winning three Senate seats…District 14 (Middlesex and Mercer Counties) where former Senator Peter Inverso came out of retirement in an attempt to unseat Democrat Linda Greenstein, District 18 (Middlesex County), gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono’s district where East Brunswick Mayor David Stahl switched parties to run as a Republican against Assemblyman Peter Barnes, and District 38 (Bergen County) where businessman/educator Fernando Alonso was out to defeat Democratic Senator Bob Gordon…and courting policy friendly Democrats…Senators Brian Stack and Sandra Cunningham of Hudson County…to deliver the 20th and 21st votes for a majority when needed during Christie’s second term.
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Posted: December 3rd, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, NJ Senate Republicans | Tags: 2013 Election, Chris Christie, NJ Legislature, NJ Senate Republicans, NJ State Senate, Tom Kean JR | 4 Comments »
While Trenton Democrats are planning their aggressive “lame -duck” agenda with an eye on making Governor Chris Christie’s 2016 prospects more difficult, New Jersey’s two most popular Republicans, Christie and former Governor Tom Kean, are letting hurt feelings over the attempted ouster of Tom Kean, JR as Senate Minority Leader dominate the news on the Republican side of the aisle.
In case you missed it or didn’t care, on the heels of his landslide reelection with no coattails, Christie made it known that he wanted Senator Kevin O’Toole to replace Kean, JR as the Republican leader in the upper house of the legislature. Junior got wind of the coup attempt and rallied the majority of the caucus to stick with him. The day after the election, Christie publicly expressed his commitment to continue working with Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and declined to comment on who the leader of the Republican minority in the Senate should be. Junior released a letter signed by 11 of the 16 Republican Senators that expressed their support of him. The following morning, prior to the Republican caucus meeting to elect their leader, Christie summoned Junior and Republican Senators to his Statehouse office, in view of the press corps, to lobby for O’Toole taking over the minority leadership.
Junior fought back and 9 other Republican Senators stuck with him, giving him a 10-6 victory over O’Toole and giving Christie the first act of defiance from Republicans in four years.
Why did Christie want to oust Junior? He’s not saying. Speculation centers on two reasons; 1) Christie was doing Sweeney’s bidding in the Senate President’s ongoing feud with Junior for having the gall to try and win his seat in the Senate and 2) Christie wanted Junior to take the fall for Republicans not picking up any seats in the legislature.
After Junior retained his leadership post, he and O’Toole emerged together from the caucus meeting and put on happy faces to the press, pledging unity and to get to work on the people’s business. That should have been the end of it.
But then Kean, SR started talking to reporters, expressing his frustration and disappointment with his mentee, Christie. Kean SR’s comments were “tinged with bitterness” toward Christie, The Record’s Charles Stile wrote on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Kean, SR kept his disappointment with Christie in the news by granting an interview to The Star Ledger’s Matt Friedman wherein he placed the blame for the Democrats retaining the legislature squarely with the Governor.
“You assume that if the governor wins by 20 points or more you’d have coattails,” Kean said. “No governor I know in any state has won by 20 points and not had coattails.”
By Friday, the Kean-Christie story had seemed to blow over. But it had not.
Yesterday, The Associated Press’s Angela Delli Santi posted a story quoting Kean SR as being “as surprised as I’ve ever been in my life in politics,” and how disappointed he is that Christie has yet to call him or Junior, to mend fences.
None of this reflects well on Christie, the Keans or the NJ GOP.
And none of it will help Republicans, Christie and members of the legislature, continue to “turn Trenton upside down.”
Posted: November 17th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, 2016 Presidential Politics, NJ SAFE Task Force | Tags: Chris Christie, Kevin O'Toole, Steve Sweeney, Tom Kean JR, Tom Kean SR | 10 Comments »
To a legislator, the difference between being in the majority and being in the minority is as consequential as the difference between being in office and being out of office. That is why my political life was transformed in November 1985 when, as a…
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Posted: November 10th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: 2013 Election, Dick Zimmer, NJ State Legislature | Tags: Dick Zimmer, gerrymandering, NJ Legislature, NJSpotlight | 2 Comments »
Two of New Jersey’s top political strategists, Republican Chris Russell and Democrat Steve Asycue sat down with NJTV’s Mike Schneider to recap the week’s political news. Their conversation was much like the rest of the week in Trenton politics….bi-partisan praise for Governor Chris Christie and ongoing animus over the legislative races and Senate President Steve Sweeney’s ongoing feud with Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr.
My takeaway….the Trenton Dems are already working on 2015 and 2017, and Russell and Asycue wouldn’t mind joining Christie 2016.
Posted: November 8th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election | Tags: 2013 Election, Chris Russell, Mike Schneider, NJTV, Steve Asycue | 1 Comment »
The reaction to Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal’s declaration of victory has been hilarious…and has overloaded MMM stat counter!
Two Tinton Falls officials called first thing this morning unable to contain their laughter at Gopal’s delusional claim of credit for Jerry Turning’s election as mayor.
Tinton Falls Mayor-elect Jerry Turning
“I’m the most conservative Democrat you’ll ever meet,” Mayor-elect Turning said when we got him on the phone. “I registered as a Democrat over 40 years ago when I was 18 and Jerry Brown was running for President. I don’t consider myself a partisan. I vote for the best candidates.” Turning said he voted for Mitt Romney for President last year, Chris Christie for Governor on Tuesday and Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate last month.
“Neither the Democrats or Republicans in Tinton Falls were involved in my campaign. We spent no money. I’m proud of that. I’ve never run for office before and don’t consider myself a politician,” said Turning, “I have good relationships with John Bennett (the Monmouth GOP Chairman) and Gopal and I want to keep it that way. But I am not a partisan person and Tinton Falls is not a partisan town. The residents like it that way,”
A Manalapan resident said via facebook, ”Gopal’s letter is actually very funny. He states, ‘In MANALAPAN, Ryan Urgo, Dr. Ayesha Chaudhary and David Goldstein ran a strong campaign for township committee but lost due to an onslaught of negative attacks from the Republicans.’ Manalapan Democrats: In fact, the Republicans never mentioned the Democrats, not wanting to give them publicity since they were all unknowns. The Democrats, on the other hand, spent their entire campaign attacking Andrew Lucas and the farmland preservation, rather than running against the Republican candidates.”
Asbury Park Councilman John Moor said, “Funny that he claims the Asbury Park referendum a victory, I thought it was going to be non partisan.”
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Posted: November 8th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Vin Gopal | Tags: Andrew Lucas, Asbury Park, Doug Card, Frank Nolan, Highlands, Jerry Turning, John Moor, Manalapan, Monmouth Democrats, Rebecca Kane, Tinton Falls, Vin Gopal | 1 Comment »
Monmouth County voters overwhelming elected Sheriff Shaun Golden and Freeholder Director Tom Arnone to second terms yesterday. Deputy Freeholder Director won her second election in as many years, earning her first full term as a freeholder. DiMaso was elected last year to complete the term of Assemblyman Rob Clifton.
Golden defeated criminal defense attorney Rueben Scolavino with 102,840 to 58 votes. 58,923 people voted for Scolavino.
Only Governor Chris Christie, who earned 70.6% of the vote in Monmouth County, 122,928, outpolled Golden.
Freeholders Arnone and DiMaso bested their Democratic opponents Brian Froelich of Spring Lake and Larry Luttrell of Holmdel by an almost 2-1 margin. Arnone got 98,832 votes, Dimaso 95,829. Froelich, who ran for the House of Representative against Congressman Chris Smith last year came in third with 58,450 votes and Luttrell, who was endorsed by the Asbury Park Press, received 56,394 votes.
In the legislative races, Republicans dominated.
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Posted: November 6th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, Monmouth County | Tags: Brian Froelich, Jon Hor, Larry Luttrell, Monmouth GOP, NJ Legislature, Serena DiMaso, Shaun Golden, Tom Arnone | 12 Comments »
With 6 of 9 voting districts reporting in Red Bank, Republican Cindy Burnham and incumbent Democrat Kathy Horgan appear to be headed to victory.
Republican candidate Sean DiSomma said that his count of all districts has him losing to Horgan by 80 votes, and Burnham winning. Incumbent Councilwoman Sharon Lee appears to be losing.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, Red Bank | Tags: Cindy Burnham, Kathy Horgan, Red Bank, Sean DiSomma, Sharon Lee | 2 Comments »
Mayor Frank L. Nolan was elected to a second term leading the Borough of Highlands today.
Nolan, a Republican earned 46% % of the vote in the Superstorm Sandy ravaged community over his Democratic opponent, Council President Rebecca Kane who earned 39%. 15% of Highlands voters wrote in their chose. Douglas Card waged a write-in campaign. There were 1290 votes cast in the borough today. These results to not include mail-in ballots.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, Highlands | Tags: Douglas Card, Frank Nolan, Highlands, Rebecca Kane | 3 Comments »
As of 4pm, mail in ballots in Monmouth County were breaking 2-1 in favor of Governor Chris Christie. Two thirds of the ballots had already been counted, according to a reliable source.
Christie has coattails in Monmouth County. Our source said the election is looking to be a Republican landslide throughout the county and in all legislative districts.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election | Tags: 2013 Election, early returns, mail in ballots, Monmouth County | 4 Comments »