Bloomfield elects first new mayor in 12 years, East Orange mayoral candidate formally seals win

By Eunice Lee/The Star-Ledger
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on November 05, 2013

ESSEX COUNTY — A heated mayoral race in Bloomfield ended tonight with a Democratic at-large councilman beating his Republican challenger. Michael Venezia won a three-year term and will be the township’s first new mayor in 12 years.

The fierce mayoral battle drew big-name support. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) backed 31-year-old Venezia. Russell Mollica, 53, gained support from a local appearance last week with Gov. Chris Christie.

Bloomfield’s election was a focal point among more than 30 municipal and school board races across Essex County. Roughly one-third of the local races were uncontested.

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Chris Christie Coasts to 2nd Term as Governor of New Jersey

The New York Times

 

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election by a crushing margin on Tuesday, a victory that vaulted him to the front ranks of Republican presidential contenders and made him his party’s foremost proponent of pragmatism over ideology.

Mr. Christie declared that his decisive win should be a lesson for the nation’s broken political system and his feuding party: In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Christie won a majority of the votes of women and Hispanics and made impressive inroads among younger voters and blacks — groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract.

The governor prevailed despite holding positions contrary to those of many New Jersey voters on several key issues, including same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the minimum wage, and despite an economic recovery that has trailed the rest of the country.

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James family returns to Newark City Hall as former mayor's son wins council seat

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on November 05, 2013

John Sharpe James, pictured in this file photo was elected tonight to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Donald Payne (D-10th Dist.)

 

Roughly a week after former mayor Cory Booker left Newark City Hall, the James family returned.

John Sharpe James, son of former Mayor Sharpe James, was elected to a vacant at-large council seat tonight in a commanding 40 point victory over the next highest vote getter, according to unofficial returns.

"We know the real Newark. We know what Newark used to be," James told a crowd of roughly 200 supporters at Newark's Key Club. "We need to go back to that Newark."

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Runaway Governor’s Race Confounds Pollsters and Pundits

Mark J. Magyar | November 5, 2013

NJSpotlight

Four years ago, the last five polls in the governor’s race varied by just five percentage points -- with GOP challenger Chris Christie leading by no more than 3 percent and Gov. Jon Corzine by no more than 2 percent. Even with the complication of independent Chris Daggett in the race, the polls were basically right on the money: Christie ended up winning by 4.5 percent, within the margin of error for three of the polls.

Tonight, somebody’s poll is going to be very wrong -- and that’s in a race in which the pollsters have no argument over the winner.

The Monmouth University poll has Christie leading Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) by 20 percent; the Quinnipiac poll has Christie winning by 28 percent; and the Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows a whopping 36 percent Christie landslide. For a polling profession that usually quotes margins of error of plus or minus 1.5 to 3.5 percent, those Monmouth and Rutgers-Eagleton polls are an Evel Knievel chasm apart.

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Cory Booker basks in glow of big day as nation's newest Senator

By Amy Ellis Nutt/The Star-Ledger
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on November 01, 2013

Sen. Cory Booker addresses hundreds of supporters in the Russell Senate Office Building with Sen. Robert Menendez at his left and Rep. Donald Payne Jr. at his right on Booker's first day as a US Senator. Washington, DC 10/31/13 (John Munson/The Star-Ledger)

 

WASHINGTON — Lost in an ocean of admirers, Cory Booker stood on a small dais in a crowded ballroom at the Liaison Hotel on Thursday night, posing for photos. A waiting line snaked through the crowd as Booker stood as patient as a groom receiving well-wishers.

It was 8 p.m. and he was already due at the next party, but the new U.S. Senator from New Jersey was content to bask in the glow of flashing cameras just a little bit longer.

Cory Booker became New Jersey’s first African-American U.S. Senator and the first former Newark mayor to ascend to higher political office when he was sworn in at high noon Thursday in the well of the U.S. Senate.

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Booker Joins the Senate and Casts His First Vote

The New York Times

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday administered the oath of office to Cory A. Booker, recently elected to the Senate.

 

WASHINGTON — Cory A. Booker, who gained celebrity as a danger-defying, super-tweeting mayor of Newark, was sworn in as New Jersey’s junior United States senator on Thursday. He is the first African-American to be elected to the chamber since Barack Obama in 2004.

Mr. Booker’s arrival in Washington did not come with the same political portent rendered by another high-profile senator who arrived here via a special election — Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, whose 2010 victory signaled the ensuing power of the Tea Party movement, cost Democrats a 60-vote supermajority and placed a Republican in the seat held for nearly half a century by Edward M. Kennedy. (Senator Brown lost the seat to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, thus ending his swing-vote-laden tenure.)

But Senator Booker was met with a fair amount of attention from his fellow Democrats, whose excitement seemed to stem less from the fact that, after Senator Frank R. Lautenberg died in June, their party retained the seat as expected — but rather at his significant national star wattage and the fund-raising potential it may bring. He joins Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley earlier this year to replace Jim DeMint, who retired, as one of only two black senators.

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No Common Ground for Christie and Buono on Social Issues, Policies

Colleen O'Dea | November 1, 2013

NJSpotlight

 

On issues as diverse as abortion, same-sex marriage, and gun control, the differences between Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic challenger Sen. Barbara Buono could not be clearer.

That is, if anyone could find Christie’s positions.

Buono’s website has a section on issues that includes several position papers. Christie’s site, however, does not. The governor's campaign site only contains brief biographies of Christie and Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno; a description of seven accomplishments during his current term; contribution, contact and volunteer forms; a video archive and news releases, most of which are about ads and endorsements. This is quite different from his 2009 campaign website, which had the same Internet address and a full section on issues.

“The Governor’s positions on these issues are public and well documented during his time as Governor,” said Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the Christie campaign.

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Does Oliver still want to be Speaker? "Not really"

By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 30th, 2013

BY MARK J. BONAMO



NUTLEY - At a low-key fundraiser at the Franklin Steakhouse on Wednesday night, State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) spoke her mind about some recently-raised voices within the state Democratic party regarding her future.  

"I'm not riding off into the sunset, but do I still want to be speaker? Not really," Oliver said, who has served as speaker, the state's third-highest ranking elected official, since 2010. "I will continue to be engaged with the new leadership team."  

Oliver's comments came just over a week after Assembly Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-6) issued a list of 41 members of the Democratic caucus in support of a new leadership team for the 2014-15 Legislature.  

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Christie Embraces Budget Strategies He Scorned as a Candidate

The New York Times

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday in Moonachie, N.J., after addressing volunteer groups involved in hurricane recovery efforts.

 

Running for New Jersey governor in 2009, Chris Christie hammered the Democratic incumbent, Jon S. Corzine, for using “one-shot gimmicks” to balance the budget, called it “unconscionable” to take away property tax rebates and railed against issuing more debt for transportation projects, promising to “start saying no to spending.”

But in four years in office, Governor Christie, a Republican, has relied on the same kind of short-term strategies, diverting money for things like affordable housing and property tax rebates to balance the budget, and tapping funds intended for development of new sources of energy to keep the lights on in state buildings.

Mr. Christie made headlines when he declared he was canceling construction of a tunnel under the Hudson River to halt runaway costs, but he has issued more debt for transportation projects than any of his predecessors. Overall spending has risen 14 percent, and while state surpluses nationwide are growing, New Jersey’s has shrunk to its lowest percentage in a decade. The state’s bond rating is among the worst in the country.

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What if: 4 scenarios for post-election Senate shake-up if GOP captures 3 seats

By Matthew Arco | October 29th, 2013

 

In a Gov. Chris Christie post-election world, the New Jersey Senate looks a lot different on Nov. 6 than it does now.

Let’s presume the governor and his campaign are onto something when they disclosed Tuesday that the popular incumbent is investing “significant” resources into three legislative races for the final week of the campaign. The races in the districts are close, Christie’s campaign argues, and polling suggests support from the governor could put the GOP candidates “over the line.”

Democrats disagree. They say the Republican governor is putting on a good show in the final stretch after focusing much of the election season largely on only his own race.

By Matthew Arco | October 29th, 2013

In a Gov. Chris Christie post-election world, the New Jersey Senate looks a lot different on Nov. 6 than it does now.

Let’s presume the governor and his campaign are onto something when they disclosed Tuesday that the popular incumbent is investing “significant” resources into three legislative races for the final week of the campaign. The races in the districts are close, Christie’s campaign argues, and polling suggests support from the governor could put the GOP candidates “over the line.”

Democrats disagree. They say the Republican governor is putting on a good show in the final stretch after focusing much of the election season largely on only his own race.

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