Who’s Up and Who’s Down: Week of the Middlesex GOP Screening (and St. Pat’s Day!)


Assembly Minority leader Jon Bramnick, right, with fellow GOP Assemblyman Chris Brown.

Chris Brown

The pro-labor, independent-minded Republican senate candidate in LD2 – a former judge and veteran of Desert Storm – scared his fellow assemblyman away from pursuing the seat being vacated by retiring state Senator Jim Whelan (D-2).

Gerald Cardinale

The veteran North Jersey senator this week won the LD39 Republican Convention in Bergen over attorney John McCann. The vote was 119-51 for the Republican leader and dentist by trade.

Jack Ciattarelli

The assemblyman from Somerset County won the Mercer County Republican line 67-31% in his pursuit of the nomination to be governor of New Jersey. Having largely taken a beating from LG Kim Guadagno in the line game, Ciattarelli needed a win as the contest heads toward Burlington County next Monday, where he’s the favorite. On the down side for the candidate, however, was this Quinnipiac University Poll that showed him coming a distant third behind comic Joe Piscopo.

Sandy Cunningham

After a fright from sign-posting mischief makers, the senator from Jersey City will get the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) line in the Democratic Primary.

Art Haney

Running for the senate in the 12th District, the former mayor of Old Bridge forced a virtual tie at this week’s screening committee pow wow of the Middlesex County Republican Committee.

Assemblyman Tom Giblin of Essex County.

Tom Giblin

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the 34th District assemblyman from Montclair sang “An Irish Soldier Boy” on the floor of the assembly. It was a stunning and proud moment for the American Irish in New Jersey. The elegant former Essex County Democratic Chairman received a standing ovation from his assembly colleagues in both parties. “Let’s remember what it’s all about: St. Patrick himself; if it wasn’t my father leaving Ireland, I would be back on that farm as a farm boy. Let’s do what we can to do what we can to welcome all immigrants to our shores and the great United States.”

Steve Sweeney

Everyone’s watching the 3rd district as the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) mulls over how to punish the senate president, who last year called for an investigation of the powerful teacher’s union. In defiance of his labor outfit nemesis, Sweeney went big with his senate reelection  kickoff – a South Jersey spectacular.

Kevin O’Toole

Only state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) opposed Governor Chris Christie’s successful nomination of the retiring Republican state senator from the 40th District – a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Natalie, Julia and Riley DeAngelo

Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo’s daughters Natalie and Julia have grown up and were not present this year for their annual Irish step dancing routine on the floor of the assembly. But Riley DeAngelo – the Hamilton assemblyman’s niece – has learned from her cousins and impressed DeAngelo’s colleagues with her routines at Thursday’s legislative session. To contribute to DeAngelo’s happiness, the GOP is having difficulty finding someone to run against him and Assemblyman Dan Benson in the 14th District.


Vince Mazzeo

After weeks of Democrats asserting that he was done and hand wringing entreaties to get retiring state Senator Jim Whelan (D-2) to un-retire, the assemblyman from the 2nd district backed down from a run for senate. Mazzeo this week said he would pursue a reelction bid instead of going for the upper house seat.

Atlantic City Cops

As part of his action plan for the embattled New Jersey gambling, Atlantic City Chief Executive Officer Jeff Chiesa has proposed deep cuts to the salaries of Atlantic City police officers.

NJ Cities

President Donald J. Trump’s proposed budget contains $6 billion in cuts to Housing and Urban Development, and the elimination of the CDBG program, which Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said would result in the loss annually of $9 million, a particularly hard blow to local non-profits.

Dana Wefer

The perennial Democrat from the Hoboken Housing Authority this week backed away from her once-perceived Across the Rubicon Republican candidacy for governor.

Sam Thompson

He has the line in Ocean and he will get the line in Monmouth, and is still the favorite to win the gOP primary, but the likeable Republican senator from the 12th District is tied in his home county against an aggressive challenger in former Old Bridge Mayor Art Haney. It’s volatile.

Joe Rullo and Steve Rogers

Working hard and competing from one end of the state to the other – and together in a solid position to offer themselves to voters as credible backers of President Donald J. Trump – the businessman and Nutley commissioner respectively have not been able to generate any organizational support to date in their pursuit of Republican county lines, ceding the establishment contest to Ciattarelli and lG Kim Guadagno.

The Disabled

The proposed GOP overhaul of the Affordable Care Act jeopardizes federal matching funds for agencies providing services to people with developmental disabilities, according to this NJ.com story.

John McCann

The Bergen attorney who looked like a hero last week plummeted heavily to earth this week when Cardinale beat him in Bergen’s 39th district convention.



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One response to “Who’s Up and Who’s Down: Week of the Middlesex GOP Screening (and St. Pat’s Day!)”

  1. Cardinale is a dentist? Scary, I’d hate to have that puss smiling down at me while pulling my teeth out. That’s one good reason to brush my teeth twice a day and after meals.

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