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Frank And Tough

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) is up with his first TV ad of the cycle, by Message and Media. Full script "Jersey":

ANNCR: "New Jersey's tough, smart, tenacious. So's Frank Lautenberg. The Bush Republicans tried cutting health care for New Jersey kids. Frank Lautenberg stopped them. Big Oil wanted to drill off our shore. Frank Lautenberg prevented it. Homeland security funds were doled out on politics not risk. Frank Lautenberg changed it so New Jersey will get more. New Jersey's one strong state. And Frank Lautenberg's one strong Senator." LAUTENBERG: "I'm Frank Lautenberg. I'm New Jersey's Senator and I approve this message" (release, 4/23).


Exiled To The Back Of The Ballot?

A Superior Court judge 4/22 upheld the Dem Party's ballot process, "dealing a blow" to Rep. Rob Andrews (D-01). Andrews "wants an open primary, requiring clerks to bracket candidates in column one on the ballots in all" of NJ's 21 counties. "As the underdog without a single county party line in the northern part of the state, Andrews fears falling prey to random placement in those counties where he lacks support." Come 6/3, "the handicap of having no organizational backing could result in his name being banished to some far corner of a county ballot, while Lautenberg is affixed on the organization's line A. But Judge Mary Jacobson of the court's chancery division deferred to the county clerks, eschewing a uniform statewide bracket, and leaving Andrews's team promising to appeal the judge's decision in the court's appellate division."

Lautenberg spokesperson Julie Roginsky: "Rob Andrews is now 0 for 2 in his attempt to manipulate the ballot process. Hopefully, Congressman Andrews will now focus on the issues facing New Jersey and will explain to the voters why he co-authored the Iraq War Resolution, why he continues to mislead the public about introducing legislation to withdraw troops and why he voted three times against withdrawing our troops..."

Andrews manager Michael Murphy: "Even if we're unsuccessful here, it's by no means desperate to attempt to rectify what is an unfair process. What we're seeking is fundamental fairness in terms of ballot geography" (Pizarro,, 4/22). Like Andrews, ex-Morris Co. Prosecutor Murphy also ran for GOV'97, both losing to ex-Gov. Jim McGreevey (D). Andrews called Murphy's '97 campaign "tough but very fair" (Friedman,, 4/22).


Let's Shake Hands And Suss This All Out... Or Not

"For the first time, the full field" of 3 GOPers met 4/22 to debate. State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R), '00 candidate/'97 Libertarian GOV nominee/Ramapo College prof. Murray Sabrin (R) and '96 nominee/ex-Rep. Dick Zimmer (R) "spent their time addressing the issues and laying out some stark differences in policy -- for the most part, anyway." A question from ex-Bergen Co. Freeholder candidate Deirdre Woodbyrne "did spark a heated argument" between Pennacchio and Sabrin. "Woodbyrne asked whether the candidates would pledge to stop making personal attacks on fellow Republicans. Sabrin responded that he would continue to campaign against what he saw as failed party leadership in Trenton. Pennacchio said that he had issued his own similar clean campaign pledge months ago and kept to it."

Pennacchio: "We made it public and we encouraged all candidates to sign that pledge. Today none have. And it's funny, because I was the proud recipient of some of Murray's promises: distortions, name-calling, because he believes in practicing politics instead of delivering a principled message." Sabrin: "Joe Pennacchio wrote a tract 17 years ago and he claims in this campaign he's a Ronald Reagan democrat and Ronald Reagan Republican. Yet in this tract he calls Reagan economics 'voodoo economics.'" Pennacchio: "Murray, Murray, Murray. No wonder the Bergen Record called you a 'loose cannon.'"

Zimmer "sat helplessly between the two. But Zimmer's entrance into the race less than two weeks ago has drawn criticism from his fellow candidates, including from Sabrin, who requested that the FBI investigate him." And his very recent status as a DC lobbyist "was fair game for his opponents." Zimmer: "I've begun my campaign with a promise to campaign on the issues. I have not attacked wither of my opponents on a personal basis" (Friedman,, 4/22).

"On issues such as abortion and medical marijuana, the candidates showed a three-way race can produce three nuanced opinions. All three said they opposed partial-birth abortions." Zimmer said he believes "in a woman's right to choose and I believe it's protected by the Constitution." He said he favors "reasonable restrictions" such as parental notification and a ban on partial-birth abortion. Sabrin said he is "pro-life" but opposes any national strategy, saying "the abortion issue should be handed back to the states. ... Being pro-life does not mean you want one size fits all for the coun try. I believe that would be a mistake." Pennacchio said he is "pro-life" and supports a federal constitutional amendment "that recognizes life begins at conception" (Schwaneberg, Newark Star-Ledger, 4/23).


"On immigration, all three candidates said they favor eliminating birthright citizenship and building a border fence. None of the candidates would give a straight answer to an audience member's question" about which Dem WH candidate they'd prefer in case John McCain doesn't win. Sabrin: "You're asking me if I prefer to get hit by a truck or a bus" (, 4/22).

This article appears in the April 23, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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