Archive for the ‘Lonegan’ Category

It’s on.

Chris Christie beat Steve lonegan for the Republican nomination and will face Corzine in the general election this fall.

Corzine kicked off his re-election campaign ( with a visit from VP Joe Biden ) last night at the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange. Volunteers were already on-hand with new Corzine ’09 logo-ed t-shirts. When I asked strategist Brad Lawrence if his firm was already part of the Guv’s re-election bid, he pointed to the logos and said “that is us.”

Couple of other notable developments…State Senator Marcia Karrow lost in her primary bid against Republican Assemblyman Mike Doherty. This happened despite the fact that Karrow won the convention in Hunterdon County and had the party backing behind her.

Some pundits have speculated that robo-calls her campiagn made questioning Doherty’s patriotism was what did her in ( Karrow is the sitting Senator ). But let me posit another theory.

Lonegan came in with 42% of the vote. Considering he got single digits in the last Republican primary in ’05, that is pretty impressive. especially since Christie locked up a ton a of organization support early in the race.

The theory was always that only the firmest believers bother to vote in a Republican primary. If that is true, then maybe that is what hurt Karrow…in other words the Lonegan voters preferred Doherty especially in Hunterdon and Warren counties, solidly Republican territory.

Karrow then held a contentious live interview on NJN with Reporter Kent St. John.

Don Crisitello lost in the Morristown Mayoral Democratic primary. Cresitello had run for Senate last year. He established himself nationally when he applied for federal powers to deputize his police officers so that they could expel undocumented immigrants. I guess that stance didn’t go over so well in a Democratic primary.

And finally, Edison Mayor Jun Choi lost the primary. Choi was hailed the future of the city of Edison when he won four years ago. His Asian ethnicity had represented the growing poluation there. There are very few Asian American representaives in NJ Government ( at any level ). Choi is still mayor btw…he just lost the primary.

Very interesting night.

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The conventional wisdom was that Chris Christie should at least get through this primary with his core image intact.

That image of course has been as a squeaky clean gun-slinger who’s gonna clean up this town. A job he began as U.S. Attorney.

But first, opponents went after him for his deferred prosecution agreements. And now, questions keep dogging him about John Inglesino ( who’s law firm was a recipient of one of those deferred prosecution agreements ).

Inglesino and Christie have been friends for 15 years. Inglesino is an unpaid adviser to the campaign, and a prolific fundraiser. This weekend, the Lonegan capaign called Inglesino Christie’s “leading fundraiser.”

Christie denied that today and many other rumours that he says have circulatred about him and his buddy ( including that they went to law school together ).

Here is the issue: Inglesino apparently did the minimal amount of work one needs to do in order the qualify for a state pension. He did that work for Republican State Senator Joe Pennacchio. But afer the kerfuffle this past weekend, Inglesino quit.

Christie has said he would end pensions for time workers, and has therefore been forced to answer questions about this uncomfortable situation more than once over the last few days. By the way, the issue first came to the surface last week when Democrats issued a  press release about it.

Christie told reporters on day one that they would try and smear him, I guess the question is does this count? And more importantly has it worked? Primary Election is tomorrow.

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Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan are both Republicans but on policy there are some stark differences.

During the hour-long debate, the two candidates proudly highlighted those contrasts. Lonegan favors a 2.9% flat tax in lieu of the state income tax and he wants to do away with rebates. Christie says rebates would remain under his stewardship, and he criticizes Lonegan’s flat tax for what he says will be an actual tax increase for those who can least afford it.

On state spending, they both want to cut. Christie would begin each budget season at zero and build from there – meaning no automatic increases for every department. Lonegan would more or less eliminate or pare down every single government department, merging some and dissolving others.

Although Christie had targeted Lonegan in recent days with two youtube videos…including one that was quite unflattering…

during the debate, Christie seemed to look past Lonegan criticizing Governor Corzine and including his name with ( Former Governor Jim ) McGreevey at every turn. In one great line about Corzine’s desire to institute early education for all New Jersey children Christie called the Governor’s favorite word “universal” arguing that the Guv wants “all of you to pay for it.”

But Lonegan went right after Christie, and his zingers included one just after Christie defended his record as a Morris County Freeholder.

“I am so surprised you weren’t re-elected to a second term if your record was so good,” Lonegan sniped.

Excellent debate overall that really gave some insights into the differences between these two candidates.

Here are links to the debate, and our coverage on NJN.




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Rick Merkt, the Republican Assemblyman, is staying in the race.

Merkt failed to generate enough contributions to qualify for state matching funds and he is excluded from the May 12 NJN debate featuring Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan.

When asked whether or not he was ever offered an incentive to drop out of the race, Merkt said he received a call from John Inglesino on behalf of Christie who offered him a top job should Christie win.

Coupla things here…first off, this was before Christie had even announced. Second, Christie and Inglesino have both denied this ever happened, and third Inglesino works for the law firm that received a lucrative federal monitoring contract from Christie’s office. It was a deferred prosecution agreement between the US Attorney’s office and UMDNJ.

Christie has already denied awarding contracts to John Ashcroft the former United States AG, and a former federal NY prosecutor who declined to bring charges against Christie’s brother in an insider trading kerfuffle. So, it’s unlilely he would want to face a new accusation about awarding a contract to a friend, especially someone who might have been working on a  campaign that did not exist since it was illegal for Christie to plan for a run for Governor while still US Attorney.

Does this story have legs? Probably not since, as christie pointed out, Merkt is sagging in the polls and thus might have an incentive to sling some juicy but ultimately false allegations. On the other hand, it puts the subject of federal monitorships back in the news, which I sincerely doubt Christie likes.

In a completely seperate development. The democratic Governor’s Association will be sinking some money into the gubernatorial race on behalf of Corzine. But here is the surprise: It will be to help Lonegan defeat Christie in the Republican primary(!)

I guess the Dems feel Lonegan will be an easier opponent to face in the Fall. One insider said polls show Lonegan and Christie neck and neck, and now is the time to knock Christie down.

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meant to post something on this last week. Here is self-explanatory live shot which i will display here without comment.

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You gotta give this guy credit. When it comes to intellectual honesty, few politicians can be beat. Steve Lonegan, the former Bogota mayor who is running for Governor in the Republican primary said at a State House Press conference Thursday that the “collegiate” relationship between Republicans and Democrats would end under his tenure.

Lonegan offered his list of five laws that need to be repealed because they are hurting the business climate in New Jersey and inhibiting economic growth. they are paid family leave, binding arbitration in labor disputes, the card check law which enables workers to unionize more easily, project labor agreements which require all government contracts to use union labor – Lonegan says that has increased costs everywhere by 30% – and finally the corporate business tax.

According to the candidate, ALL of these bills were passed with Republican support. And that he says is precisely the problem with bi-partisanship.

Asked first if he was anti-labor, Lonegan said “no.” He went on to say that unions don’t work in the public sector but do work in the private sector. When pushed about whether he thought the UAW had somehow been reasonable these last 70 years whereas CWA in NJ has not been…Lonegan backtracked a little. He agreed that UAW and the automakers may not be a shining example of a good worker-employer relationship. However, he also took issue with CWA’s ” leadership” here in NJ.

Most people thought Chris Christie would be a formidable opponent for Governor Corzine if he could only get past Lonegan in the primary. But it’s been Christie who is surging in the polls and locking up key organizational and County support.

Asked if perhaps New Jersey had moved too far to the left in the 12 years since any Republican has won statewide, Lonegan said “NJ is not a hopelessly liberal state.”

Maybe not. But folks here may not be ready for his brand of Republicanism either right now and might just be lining up behind Christie because they think he is a Repub. who can actually win.

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