News Roundup and Open Thread

for Wednesday, June 4, 2008
by: Scott Weingart
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:41:02 AM EDT
New Jersey primary roundup: Senate races
Frank Lautenberg won the Democratic nomination for US Senate yesterday, garnering 59% of the vote to 35% for Rob Andrews and 6% for Donald Cresitello. Dick Zimmer took the Republican nomination over Joe Pennacchio and Murray Sabrin 46%-40%-14%.

Those who questioned whether Rob Andrews was a “real” Democrat should have listened to his concession speech, in which Andrews vowed to work hard in support of the Democratic ticket in November.
Congressional races

Leonard Lance won the 7th Congressional District Republican primary, winning more votes in Hunterdon than second-place Kate Whitman did in the entire district. Burlington County carried Chris Myers to the Republican nomination in the 3rd.

On the Democratic side, Dennis Shulman won big in the 5th district, while Tom Wyka coasted to victory in the 11th. Camille Andrews won the 1st District Primary, the voters giving her the nomination she has already promised to give up.
Local races

In Democratic primary for county and local Democratic parties, organization candidates had a good night, winning by large margins in most races and taking smaller victories in Washington and Greenwich townships.

Dual-officeholder Ralph Caputo, who also had organization support, narrowly won the Democratic nomination in his Essex County Freeholder district.

At least one organization-supported ticket lost yesterday: in the primaries for Plainfield City Council, the challengers won a surprising upset.

Lorenzo Langford won a resounding victory over incumbent Scott Evans in the Atlantic City Democratic Mayoral primary.
Race for the White House

Barack Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination yesterday.

Rush Holt and Frank Lautenberg have endorsed Barack Obama for president, while Jon Corzine, Frank Pallone, and Joe Cryan will wait for Clinton’s next move.

John McCain will hold a town hall meeting in Burlington County on June 13.
Casino unionization

The National Labor Relations Board upheld dealers’ at Trump Plaza vote to unionize.
Garden State Parkway

The Garden State Parkway will stop accepting tokens at the end of this year.
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Who Will Get Andrews’ Seat?
by: huntsu
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:46:03 AM EDT
So now that Camile Andrews has won the terribly nail-biting election for the Democratic nomination she will not accept, the time has come to speculate over who the party power-brokers will pick to get the seat.
Camile Andrews says she will not accept the nomination she just won, but hasn’t given an indication of whether she will see the party support for the nomination she resigned. I know, weird.

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald says he doesn’t want it.

Others mentioned by Andrews in his heartfelt but strange defense of this strange arrangement include:

Assemblywoman Dana Redd, and African American woman and former Camden Councilwoman. She’s also Vice Chair of the State Dems. It’d be nice to have two women (Go Linda Stender! Beat Lance!) represent NJ in the House after such a long, stupid drought.
Senator Steve Sweeney, a major power in South Jersey and business agent and treasurer for Ironworkers Local 399. He pissed off a lot of progressives when he called for union givebacks to balance the state budget using anti-worker language and arguments that sounded strange coming from a union leader’s mouth;
Assemblyman John Burzichelli, one of many Assembly Deputy Speakers and a member of the budget committee;
and Lou Capelli, a Camden County Freeholder I know next to nothing about.
Are there others in the wings? Mahdi Ibn-Ziyad and John Caramanna just lost to Camille Andrews yesterday, and are not likely to get any support even if they do throw their hats in the ring.

For the next couple weeks this is one of the few things that we’ll have to argue over. Put names and arguments over who is most likely to get the nod, and also who should get the nod.

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Local Results: Incumbents Win/Lose in Union County
by: huntsu
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:14:42 AM EDT
In local news, Plainfield powerbroker and Assembly Speaker pro-tem took a major blow in the primary just a couple months after doing very well in the school board elections.
Annie McWilliams and Adrian Mapp won handily against the Green-backed incumbent Don Davis and Council President Harold Gobson.

McWilliams is the daughter of former Green protege and eventual Green nemesis Al McWilliams. Green backed McWilliams for Mayor, but after McWilliams won the two butted heads. Eventually they wound up in massive fights for county committee seats, council seats school board elections and eventually the nomination for Assembly. When McWilliams lost for assembly after the County party backed Green with the line, he switched to Republican and lost the write-in for the general. He passed away of cancer (I believe) soon after.

Mapp is a former Councilman and Freeholder who has always had a good independent streak and did as he thought was right all the time, something that got him pushed off the Council and up to the Freeholder board. However, that independence stayed with him and he was pushed out of that.

For McWilliams and Mapp this has to be a pretty satisfying day. However, Green has faced challenges like this in the past and always eventually comes out on top.

In Elizabeth, a Jim Devine backed ticket against long-time Mayor Chris Bollwage and his ticket was defeated soundly. Devine had backed the insurgents that won in Perth Amboy in the non-partisan elections earlier this year and took down Mayor and Assemblyman Joe Vas, but was unable to defeat Bollwage and his team.

Devine is a former power-broker in Union County politics who appears to have lost any and all support from the organization, and former friends like County Chair Charlotte DiFillippo and Bollwage and Ray Lesniak will no longer give him the time of day. Accusations are that the county pulled legal ads from Devine’s papers in retaliation, a move that collapsed Devine’s media company.

What other local results are out there?

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A gutsy move
by: Juan Melli
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 01:47:30 AM EDT
Lautenberg goes out on a limb.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg followed suit after winning his own primary race for nomination to a fifth term.
“It’s very obvious. I’m going to support the Democrat. The Democrat is obviously Barack Obama,” Lautenberg told reporters after his victory speech. “I know him on a personal basis. … He’s very smart, he’s quick to learn. … I’m very excited about his presidency.

Lautenberg added Clinton “would also have made a wonderful president.”

Slow as molasses, and yet still faster than Corzine, Pallone and Cryan.
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Crappy pollster watch
by: Juan Melli
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 01:09:26 AM EDT
Note to campaigns. Don’t hire brilliant corners Research & Strategies.
Abate enjoys a significant advantage over Dennis Shulman and incumbent Scott Garrett, her opponents in the June 3rd Democratic primary and in November’s general election respectively, according to a survey* of likely voters in each contest, conducted by brilliant corners Research & Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based polling firm.
NJ-5 (D) (100% precincts reporting)
Dennis Shulman: 61%
Camille Abate: 32%
Also, generally try to avoid whatever drugs the Sabrin campaign was on. Their worst case scenario prediction:

If the turnout stays below 175,000 then we expect the final results to be: Dr. Murray Sabrin 34.9%, Dick Zimmer 34.2% and Joe Pennacchio 30.9%.
US-Sen (R) (99% precincts reporting)
Zimmer: 46%
Pennacchio: 40%
Sabrin 14%
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What’s the matter with Warren County?
by: Juan Melli
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 12:49:58 AM EDT
Though he only got 6% of the vote statewide, Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello pulled 22% of the Democratic Senate primary vote in Warren County. (Lautenberg won the county with 47%, while Andrew drew 31%). That’s just shy of the 27% he received in Morristown.
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A contrast
by: Juan Melli
Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 11:49:17 PM EDT
During Congressman Andrews’ concession speech tonight, he said he would strongly support and work to elect Senator Frank Lautenberg. He repeatedly asked his supporters to do the same.
During Senator Clinton’s concession speech rally, she claimed the most votes and said “I will be making no decisions tonight.”

Update: And Governor Corzine:

Asked if he would withdraw his support for Clinton now and get behind a Barack Obama presidential candidacy, the governor replied, “no, not today. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days.”
Update 2: There’s more.
Corzine wasn’t the only Clinton backer and superdelegate remaining true to the New York senator Tuesday.
Rep. Frank Pallone said he’d remain in Clinton’s corner so long as she remained in the race, and Democratic Party Chairman Joe Cryan said he’d wait for Clinton to make a decision.

Lautenberg, meanwhile, said he’d support the party’s nominee, but fell short of making an official endorsement Tuesday.

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The power of incumbency?
by: Juan Melli
Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 11:36:20 PM EDT
Senator Ray Lesniak endorsed Andrews, but Lautenberg carried Union County 68%-28%
Senator Brian Stack endorsed Andrews (update: Stack did not endorse Andrews, but he was thought to be quietly supporting him), but Lautenberg carried Hudson County 75%-21%

Steve Adubato Sr. endorsed Andrews, but Lautenberg carried Essex County 77%-20%.

Three of the most powerful political forces in the state could hardly put a dent in Frank Lautenberg’s huge victory over Rob Andrews. Did they sit on their hands? Are they really not as influential as everyone thinks? Or is this simply the power of incumbency and/or the line?

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Updated x3: At the Lautenberg Party
by: Dvd Avins
Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 08:45:11 PM EDT
This started out too personal for the front page, but the second update and any others I get a chance to make will be of interest. You can skip to there.
I’m at the Lautenberg victory party in Newark. This Internet connection cost $10 and probably isn’t worth it, because I don’t think it will work downstairs in the ballroom. If anybody else is here, I’m wearing a blue and white shirt and a blue and white tie, navy suit pants, and no jacket. And I’m carrying around this laptop.

If I have anything interesting enough to report, I’ll come back upstairs and edit this diary.

Update: So the guy I was watching NJN with in a corner, who looked kind of like Middlesex County Chair Joe Spicuzzo, is Joe Spicuzzo. He and I have both had a chance to age some since I last saw him.

Update 2: 9:58: Everybody spoke, except Lautenberg, who’s not here yet. Pascrell made it every clear in his short speech that he was personally offended by Andrews’ going back on his word. “If you can’t keep your word, you don’t belong”. He didn’t mention Andrews by name, but it was crystal clear, like a knife he’d spent the last two months polishing.

Holt’s not here, either, which is strange. All the other Reps who endorsed spoke. As did Booker, Codey, Rice Jr., Stender, Zeitz (I hope I’m spelling that right, the candidate in the 4th), Greenstein, and a few I forget.

Everybody except Sires said it was their pleasure or something equivalent to introduce whoever was next. Sires said it was his duty to introduce Zeitz.

Update 3: 10:40: The biggershots spoke, leading up to Frank, whom many of you saw on NJN (with a several second delay). Some corrections from before: I didn’t see Payne; I don’t think he spoke. Codey was introduced earlier, but didn’t speak at that point. Since he’s correctly styled these days as Governor Codey, it makes sense that he waited. Gusciora was among those I forgot earlier. As were one or two more legislators, and Essex County Freeholder, and a district leader in Newark. And Cryan did speak.

In the second round, Holt and Payne were thanked for their roles in the campaign and it was explained that Holt had unavoidable business in Washington tonight. Governors Codey and Corzine, Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, and a few from before all spoke.

The crowd was smaller than I was used to from the 1980s. Maybe 150 people, most of whom were elected officials or professional campaigners, I think.

Lautenberg has more physical energy than most people I know. Or better shoes, or something. Maybe it was just the adrenaline from the big win. But if I can stand still on a platform for that long and then give a speech with as much animation as he did when I’m 84, I’ll be very happy about it.

Now I get to walk the half mile back to the spot on the street I found for my car, in downtown Newark, carrying a laptop, at night. Chalk that up as your intrepid reporter’s vote of confidence in Mayor Booker, or something.

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Holt, Garden State Equality endorse Obama
by: Juan Melli
Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 10:00:00 PM EDT
Statement from Rep Rush Holt:
Barack Obama has a remarkable life story, has run a stirring campaign, and has offered an inspiring vision and an impressive strategy to bring about much-needed change in our nation. His successes in the primaries suggest that we can rise above cynicism and bigotry in America, and I am honored to offer my endorsement and support. Like millions in New Jersey and across the country, I have great hopes for an Obama Administration that will restore people’s faith in their government and strengthen America’s reputation for constructive actions abroad. I look forward to working in Congress with a President who will end our combat involvement in Iraq, invest in education, and enhance the role of science in his Administration and in society at large.
This primary campaign has been a memorable one. Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, and the other Democratic candidates deserve a great deal of credit for a spirited campaign with thoughtful discussions of the ideas and values for which the Democratic Party stands and that has produced record participation, including from millions of new voters. This group of candidates demonstrates the great wealth of talent we have to draw on as we put together the next administration and a stronger majority in Congress.

Garden State Equality also announced tonight that they are endorsing Barack Obama and all Democrats in New Jersey running for federal office:
“Throughout its history, Garden State Equality has gone out of its way to endorse Republicans as well as Democrats, including seven Republicans for state legislature last year,” said Garden State Equality chair Steven Goldstein. “We wanted our endorsements again to be bipartisan this year. But in 2008, there’s a stark reality in the contests for federal office in New Jersey: All the Democratic nominees are dramatically better than their Republican opponents on LGBT issues and civil rights in general. Unlike in state legislative election years in New Jersey, not a single Republican candidate this year is even moderate on social issues.”