U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg returned to the Senate floor in a wheelchair today, after a six week absence due to muscle fatigue caused by cancer treatments, in order to give gun control advocates a the deciding vote in legislation that would expand the use of background checks for gun purchasers. The legislation failed, 54-46. Sixty votes were required for passage. Other gun control measures failed in the Senate today by wider margins.
Four Democrats voted against the background check amendment. Four Republicans voted for it.
Obama, Senate Democrats, NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, the New York Times, et al, as well as Barbara Buono and Sheila Oliver in Trenton, have been pushing to further restrict the right to bear arms since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown on December 14 of last year.
Today’s legislative failure by Obama and the left is a victory for law abiding gun owners and the 2nd Amendment.
Today could be marked as the beginning of the lame duck phase of Obama’s presidency.
Most Americans don’t care, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday. Only 4% of Americans think guns are a major problem. Yet Washington and the national media have been consumed with the issue for the last four months.
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg missed work, on doctors orders, for the entire month of March. On Friday he released a statement saying he will not return to Washington on Monday as the Senate convenes after a two week recess, according to reports in The Star Ledger and Politico.
“I regret that I will not be returning to Washington next week as I continue treatment for, and recuperate from, muscle weakness and fatigue. My physician continues to advise me to work from home and not travel at this time,” Lautenberg said in a statement issued by his office.
Lautenberg added: “I am disappointed I will not be present for the opening of the debate on gun legislation in the Senate. It is an issue I am deeply passionate about, and my victories over the gun lobby are among my proudest accomplishments. I am, however, gratified that my legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines will be one of the key amendments offered to this bill.”
Lautenberg will also miss the confirmation of U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a nomination that was initially blocked by New Jersey’s junior senator, Bob Menendez.
“I have worked hard since Judge Shwartz’s nomination by President Obama toward her confirmation, and I am confident that she will be confirmed by a strong majority of my colleagues,” Lautenberg said.
Lautenberg, 89, announced in February that he would not seek reelection in 2014.
Should the senate seat become vacant on or before August 27, New Jersey’s election law requires that a successor be elected in the November general election. If a vacancy occurs after August 27, the next election for the seat would be on schedule in November of 2014, unless the governor calls for a special election sooner. Governor Christie could appoint a temporary senator or leave the seat vacant.
After an all night debate, the U.S. Senate passed a $3.7 trillion budget at 5am this morning. With four Democrats joining all the Republicans in the upper house in voting no, the budget passed by one vote, 50-49.
The Seante’s spending plan, the first it has passed in four years, increases taxes by $1 trillion over the next decade, modestly reduces projected spending and plans for continued deficit spending.
New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, was the only senator not voting. Lautenberg has been absent from the Senate, on doctors orders, for the entire month of March.
Congressman Rush Holt D-NJ12 told PolitickerNJ that he’s interested in becoming a U.S. Senator, but stopped short of announcing his 2014 candidacy for the 2014 Democratic nomination.
“There’s no point in being coy,” Holt said. “I’ve made no secret in previous years that I would consider the Senate at the right time. But an expression of interest should not be taken as a campaign announcement.”
Holt represented much of Monmouth County from 1999 through January of this year the congressional map resulting from the 2010 census took effect.
“I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told The Star-Ledger. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”
Lautenberg will be 91 when his term expires. Recent independent poll have indicated that New Jersey voters favor Newark Mayor Cory Booker heading to the Senate.
Congressman Frank Pallone is said to be ready to challenge Booker for the Democratic nomination in 2014. State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver have also indicated interest in the Democratic nomination.
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik said he will not be a candidate.
TV and radio personality Geraldo Rivera is the only Republican who has publically expressed an interest in competing for the Senate seat. State Senators Tom Kean, JR, and Joe Kyrillos have been mentioned as possible candidates, as has Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, Lt. Governor Kim Guadango, and bio-tech executive/Navy Intelligence Officer John Crowley. New Jersey has not had a Republican in the U.S. Senate since 1974.
In a statement issued to the media, Governor Chris Christie said, “Frank Lautenberg and I have had our differences through the years, but I’ve always respected him for his tenacity, devotion to the people of New Jersey and his love for and commitment to public service. I will always be grateful for his doggedness in fighting with me and the delegation to ensure congressional passage of an aid package after Hurricane Sandy that is delivering necessary assistance to our residents. I wish him the best in his retirement.”
A lot will happen between now and the November 2014 election. But let’s just say the stars align and my colleagues at Fox News and Cumulus Media let me run as a Republican for the United States senate seat from New Jersey, my home since 1989.
A year and a half from now, my probable opponent would be either the admirable five term incumbent 89-year old Senator Frank Lautenberg or the charismatic Newark mayor 43-year old Cory Booker, fine men and formidable candidates in a state where almost 60 percent of the people identify as Democrats.
Despite its popularity in the Garden State, their party is the problem. I endorsed the economic platform of Romney/Ryan in 2012 because Democrats were denying the deficit and decrying necessary changes in federal entitlements. Unfettered, theirs is a recipe for generational catastrophe. To pretend the government can just print money is untenable and irresponsible.
But I voted for Obama/Biden because the fiscal threat posed by the Democrats seemed less immediate then the GOP’s intrusion into the private space of abortion, as well as Republicans’ opposition to both the inevitability of immigration reform and the rights of gay people to get married. Those things I believe, so how am I a Republican?
Geraldo Rivera was on Fox and Friends this morning sounding very much like a candidate for U.S. Senate.
He said that he’s a voice for “a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey,” fiscal conservatives who are pro-immigration reform, pro-gay rights, pro- gay marriage and pro-choice within limits.
He said he would ride his Harley throughout the Garden State to campaign against Senator Frank Lautenberg or Newark Mayor Cory Booker in the 2014 U.S. Senate Race.
Television personality Geraldo Rivera announced on his radio show this morning that he is considering seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2014, according to The Hill.
“I mention this only briefly, fasten your seatbelt,” Rivera said on his radio show. “I mentioned this only briefly to my wife … but I am and I’ve been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker.”
“I’m not going to drill this out, because obviously I’ve got commitments to Fox and to here at the radio program and I’m really having a great time,” Rivera added. “But I figure at my age, if I’m going to do it I’ve got to do it. And there doesn’t seem to be any Republicans ready to work against or run against Corey Booker, the popular Newark mayor.”
Riviera is a former Monmouth County resident and the former owner of The Two River Times. He currently lives in Edgewater, Bergen County.
The Hill says Rivera could face a tough primary should he seek the nomination.
Rivera could face a tough primary challenge, however, with reports suggesting that Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick of Westfield, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno are all weighing bids for the GOP ticket.
Don’t count on that. If Rivera is willing to spend his own millions on a Senatorial run, the NJ GOP would clear the decks for him, barring another televison personality with millions to spend, like Lou Dobbs, getting into the race.
Don’t count on it happening. Senator Bob Mendendez as already survived a recall effort, an FBI investigation while Chris Christie was U.S. Attorney, Tom Kean JR and Joe Kyrillos. There’s little reason, so far, to think Menendez won’t survive his latest scandals involving illegal campaign donations and gifts, a sex offender illegal immigrant intern and allegations of engaging with prostitutes and underage girls in the Dominican Republic.Why would Menedez resign? It’s not as if he tweeted nude pictures of himself, or anything as bad as that.
For a senator to be expelled requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. The Senate Select Committee on Ethics has not responded to State Senator Sam Thompson’s complaint about Menendez filed last November. There is no reason to think the Democratically controlled Senate will even consider censuring Menendez, much less expelling him, unless the FBI’s current investigation results in an indictment and/or conviction.
But if Menendez’s seat in the Senate were to become vacant this year, it would put New Jersey politics into a fabulous turmoil that would be fun to cover and generate unprecedented blog traffic. “Peter Williams,” if you’re reading, please cooperate with the FBI and bring the Domincan girls with you to the USofA!
Two former New Jersey political powerhouses joined NJTV’s Michael Aron on his weekly show, On the Record, this week to discuss the 2013 gubernatorial race, the 2014 U.S. Senate race and to reminisce about the good old days… the governors they served under and how the climate has changed in Trenton since the days when they held power.
Democrat Joe Doria served in the State Assembly from 1980-2004. He was Speaker in the 1990-1992 session. Doria left the Assembly after losing the Democratic primary in 2003. In 2004, he was elected by the Hudson Democratic Committee to fill the State Senate term vacated by the death of Senator Glenn Cunningham, who was also the mayor of Jersey City. Doria also served as mayor of Bayonne from July of 1998 through October of 2007. He resigned from the Senate and as mayor when Governor Jon Corzine nominated him to become the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, one of the most powerful Cabinet positions in the State. His public career came to a sudden end in July of 2009 when Corzine announced his resignation as DCA commissioner after his home was raided in the Operation Bid Rig sweep the resulted in 44 arrests. Doria was never arrested and the U.S Attorney’s Office cleared him of all charges in October of 2011.
Republican John Bennett is chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Committee. He served in the State Legislature for 24 years, 10 in the Assembly and 14 in the Senate. While a Senator, Bennett was co-president of the chamber with Richard Codey during first two years of the McGreevey administration. Bennett was Acting Governor for 3 1/2 days, during the week between the Whitman/DiFrancesco administration and the McGreevey administration when New Jersey had five governors…DiFrancesco, Codey, Bennett, former Attorney General John Farmer and McGreevey.
Bennett’s career as a senator came to an end after he was defeated at the polls by Ellen Karcher, then a member of the Marlboro Township Committee. The Asbury Park Press ran Bennett out of office with a relentless series of articles, over a period of months, over a billing irregularity while he was Marlboro’s Township Attorney. Bennett was cleared of any wrong doing by the Feds in March of 2007.
Bennett is collecting a $90,000 annual pension from his years in the legislature and a plethora of part time law appointments tacked together to provide a handsome income.