Who’s Up and Who’s Down: Week of March 21st


Nick De Gregorio

The Marine veteran and Republican candidate for Congress in the 5th District scored a decisive victory this week over his rivals at the Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) Convention. The tally: Nick De Gregorio: 302Frank Pallotta: 116Fred Schneiderman: 15Seb Skenderi: 3

Matt Conlon

Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney (R-40) this week named prominent young Republican leader Matthew Conlon as his new Chief of Staff. Currently the New Jersey Republican State Committeeman for Passaic County and Passaic County GOP Secretary, Conlon is a West Milford Township Council candidate who also serves as Vice Chairman of the Wanaque Valley Regional Sewerage Authority.

Paulina Banasiak

Kaufman Zita Group (KZG) this week announced that Banasiak joined KZG as a Vice President. Well-known and highly respected throughout the state, Banasiak has extensive experience in legislative affairs and state government and will utilize her knowledge and expertise to provide advocacy, strategic planning, and direct lobbying services to clients.

Carlos A. Medina

Governor Phil Murphy this week nominated veteran public presence Medina to the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors. The President and CEO of the New Jersey Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Medina – once in the mix for LG – has been a longtime advocate for expanded business opportunities and inclusion of Hispanic business owners.

Mike Silva

This week, a group of 50 community leaders from Newark’s East Ward endorsed the candidacy of Silva for the East Ward City Council seat, another key endorsement following those from Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, retiring Councilman Augusto Amador and The Heavy and General Construction Laborers Local 472.



Cynthia Elizabeth Tarrago Diaz

The former Paraguayan Congresswoman was sentenced this week to 33 months in prison for her role in an international money laundering conspiracyU.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced. Diaz, 42, pleaded guilty on Sept. 15, 2020, before Chief Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an information charging her with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

George Bratsenis

Bratsenis, 73, of Monroe, Connecticut, this week pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire. The Connecticut today admitted his role in a murder for hire scheme in which a New Jersey-based political consultant paid him and another man to kill a longtime associate, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Larry Casha

The veteran Republican this week ended his campaign for Congress in CD-11. According to InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack, “This was not unexpected after Casha lost the Morris County endorsement by 15 votes two weeks ago to Tayfun Selen.”

Frank Pallotta

The CD-5 Republican candidate this week lost his bid for the Bergen County Republican Line to GOP rival Nick De Gregorio, but has decided to soldier on anyway in the primary.

The Energy Debate

Assembly Republicans got into a tiff with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) when Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-39) called for a special motion for the legislature to address the energy crisis. Coughlin ruled that Auth’s motion to make his resolution (AR103) the order of the day was ‘out of order.’ The resolution calls on the federal government to approve construction of oil and natural gas pipelines, including those previously denied or shut down. According to Assembly rule 15:5, “Any bill or resolution may, by vote of at least 41 members, be made the order of the day, on which it shall be considered in preference to any others whether or not it is on the calendar for that day.”




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