Neptune City Councilman Richard Pryor, center, celebrates his reelection with Neptune City and Monmouth GOP leaders. Click photo for larger view
The streets of Neptune City were reminiscent of Newark, Jersey City or Chicago on election day Tuesday as out of town canvassers worked the town to get Democrats to come out and vote in a Special Election for a Council seat that was vacated as a result of a tie vote last November.
The State Democratic Party emailed Democrat activists statewide, imploring them to knock on doors and make phone calls in Neptune City, “because it is the home of Monmouth County Freeholder Director and Republican Leader Tom Arnone, who previously served as mayor.” U.S. Senator Cory Booker made a robocall for the Democrat candidate. An estimated 30 out of towners were bused in on Tuesday to to find Democratic votes to drag to the polls.
Graphic by Robert Hazelrigg. Click on photo for RobertHazelrigg.com
Prominent New Jersey Republicans seem to finally be moving out of Governor Chris Christie’s shadow.
This afternoon The Star Ledgerreported that Monmouth County State Senator Joe Kyrillos was among the 15 or so New Jersey Republicans who met with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a top rival of Christie’s for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination, last week at a dinner hosted by Lawrence E. Bathgate. Bathgate, an Ocean County attorney, is one of the top Republican fundraisers in the nation. Also attending the dinner held at the Union Club in Manhattan was Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr, according to The Record’s Charles Stile, who first reported the event.
Such potential defections from the Christie camp were unthinkable just 15 months ago. Christie’s attempt at ousting Kean as Senate Minority Leader immediately following his 2013 re-election, and the resulting fallout as Kean, Jr’s father, the former Governor, went national in criticizing Christie can explain the younger Kean’s flirtation with the Bush campaign.
But Kyrillos being anything other than solidly in Christie’s corner is big news. Their relationship was personal before it was political. Christie introduced Kyrillos to his wife Susan. He swore Christie into his first elected office, Morris County Freeholder. Kyrillos was the Chairman of the Christie for Governor campaign in 2009.
Former Governor Tom Kean, Sr dealt a body blow to his former protégé today in an interview published by The Washington Post.
Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Tom Kean Sr celebrate the first annual Livingston Day, April 11, 2013. Photo by Tim Larsen/Governor’s Office
“On the one hand, I think he’s got a lot to offer. I think he’s the most able politician since Bill Clinton,” Kean (R) said in an interview with The Washington Post. “On the other hand, you look at these other qualities and ask, do you really want that in your president?”
Kean’s comments come as the current governor is beset by controversy over revelations that officials loyal to Christie engineered closure of part of the George Washington Bridge in September, inconveniencing tens of thousands of state residents in an apparent act of vindictiveness against a local mayor.
There is no evidence that Christie knew of the actions of his subordinates and appointees, some of whom he has since fired. But Kean — who has known Christie since the current governor was a teenager — faulted Christie for establishing a culture in his tight inner circle in which no one “will ever say no to him, and that is dangerous.”
He also said that Christie’s approach to governing is overly aggressive and his agenda is personal.
In a press conference last month, Christie said he had not talked to Kean Sr since the attempt to oust Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr from his leadership post. Kean Sr has characterized Christie’s ill-fated attempt to replace Kean Jr with State Senator Kevin O’Toole as a personal betrayal.
Congressman Frank J. Pallone, Jr. Since losing the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to Cory Booker in a special primary, New Jersey’s longest serving Democratic Member of Congress has gone off the rails with bizarre rants is defense of ObamaCare. As the healthcare plan proves to be increasingly unworkable and unpopular, Pallone’s credibility will tank.
Pallone’s once formidable campaign war chest of roughly $4 million is down to $1.2 million after the special primary, as of the September 30th FEC reports. That $1.2 million is not as high as it might seem, as the congressman historically burns through about $1 million per year in “campaign” expenses during years when he doesn’t have to face the voters. Given that his seat is considered “safe,” he’ll have a tough time competing for campaign dollars with candidates who are in districts considered “competitive.”
There is a talk of an Asian-American from Middlesex County who is willing to spend $1 million of his own money to unseat Pallone. It will take a guy like that to exploit Pallone’s obvious vulnerability.
Tom Kean Jr. Kean overplayed the best hand dealt to New Jersey Republicans since Jim Florio’s toilet paper tax, Chris Christie’s overwhelming popularity, and lost. He picked a fight with Senate President Steve Sweeney and thought he knew better than Christie’s strategists how the Republican legislative campaign should be waged. His only winning option was to defeat Sweeney’s reelection bid and pick up at least another two state Senate seats. He failed on all counts, not winning even one Senate seat.