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.
In an interview with NJTV’s On The Record with Michael Aron aired yesterday, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, insisted that T-Bone is a real person and not a composite or archetype as has been previously reported.
The mayor said the Newark police told him there are currently five people in the city using the alias “T-Bone.” He went on to say that he, as an attorney prior to entering public office, “and after I became mayor” would hold meetings with drug dealers, “100′s of guys involved in the narcotics trade,” in his house, “ even putting them up with me.”
The Booker interview can be viewed here. Aron starts the T-Bone questioning at the 9:15 mark. Booker talks about his meetings and his hospitality for drug dealers, while mayor, at the 11:29 mark.
Booker said he was dealing with non-violent drug dealers. Aron did not ask him how he knew they were non-violent drug dealers.
However, if Booker is telling the truth in his stories, as he insists he is, it is a big deal. It seems to me that Booker is confessing to his own crimes of harboring fugitives and maybe even aiding and abetting.
It sure sounds like it in the beginning of this video as the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate sings Governor Christie’s praises during an appearance in Newark yesterday, while GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan’s campaign manager Rick Shaftan on was hand to video the event.
GOP U.S. Senate nominee declared in his primary victory speech last Tuesday night that he would not that he would not alter his message nor parse his words during his special election campaign against Democratic nominee Cory Booker.
In his appearance with NJTV’s Michael Aron this weekend (video not yet posted), Lonegan presented himself as a reasonable fiscal conservative focused on the economy. He distanced himself from the Tea Party, which he characterized as an eclectic, leaderless network.
During an appearance MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt yesterday afternoon, the former Bogota mayor again comes off as reasonable, not a radical, framed Booker as an extreme liberal and stuck to economic issues:
This morning on Fox and Friends (also not yet postedSave Jersey has the video), Lonegan emphasized his Ridgefield Park roots, 32 year marriage, and two Gold Star Girl Scout daughters to make the case that he is representative of New Jersey and its values and that Booker is the liberal extremist.
Last month Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal went on NJTV to make the case that Governor Chris Christie is leading the in the polls so strongly because of how he has handled the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and because the presumed Democratic nominee for governor, State Senator Barbara Buono is largely unknown.
In the month since Gopal’s interview, Buono’s name recognition has ticked up only 4 points. Only 20% of the electorate know enough about her to form an opinion. Of that 20%, only half have a favorable opinion of her, according to the Quinnipiac Poll. Despite extensive free media granted Buono by New Jersey’s threelargestnewspapers, Christie has high favorable ratings even among registered Democrats.
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.
If case you missed it, view the debate between U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and State Senator Joe Kyrillos here.
Joe Kyrillos held is own tonight, but did not do what he need to do to close the gap in the polls and make a race of his contest to unseat Bob Menendez.
Menendez came better prepared to attack Kyrillos and better prepared to defend himself. The incumbent U.S. Senator seemed to have a better command of the facts, higher energy and was clear about the message he wanted to convey.
Kyrillos came off halting, uncomfortable and unclear in his message.
In the second half hour, Kyrillos seemed to step up his game. But his efforts to “land a punch” fell flat as his delivery was cautious and reserved. It was if he was trying to land a punch while being nice about it.
I don’t see the race changing much based upon what happened tonight. It’s not over, as there are two more debates and a month of campaigning. Most voters are not yet focused on the down ballot offices. Joe need to step up his game.