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Tags: Frank Pallone

HUD IG: No, This Isn’t a ‘Full-Scale Investigation’ into Christie



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Remember this blockbuster news from Representative Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), that the inspector general of HUD was investigating Chris Christie for his “Stronger Than the Storm” ads? “On Sunday, Pallone told CNN that the inspector general conducted a preliminary review and concluded there was enough evidence to launch a full-scale investigation into the state’s use of federal funds.”

The only problem is that it’s not true, according to a statement from HUD’s inspector general issued late yesterday:

On August 8, 2013, this office received a request from Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., regarding the State of New Jersey’s Post-Hurricane Sandy Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan. Audits of Federal expenditures of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including disaster-related activities, are something that this office does routinely. The Department granted a waiver to allow the State to use $25 million of its award on a marketing campaign to promote the Jersey Shore and encourage tourism. An audit was initiated in September 2013 to examine whether the State administered its Tourism Marketing Program in accordance with applicable departmental and Federal requirements. This is an audit and not an investigation of the procurement process. We expect to issue our audit report expeditiously. We will have no further comment until the audit report is issued.

A central point of Pallone’s accusation is that the Christie administration picked one advertising agency over another because one would feature the governor in the tourism ads, and the other didn’t. But that accusation doesn’t appear to hold up, at least according to the written proposal for the ads:

“Given widely inaccurate reporting on Stronger than the Storm, we welcome the Inspector General’s report,” the firm shot back in a statement. “It will show that MWW’s proposal included no mention or suggestion of using the governor in the paid advertising campaign. The decision to include the governor was arrived at after the contract was awarded, based on timing, availability, and federal expenditure rules.”

Springsteen and Bon Jovi were on tour and the deadline was tight, among other reasons, so the public relations firm turned to the Republican governor after winning the bid, according to Josh Zeitz, a senior vice president at MWW.

And Christie was not included in a list of New Jersey “icons” featured in the 205-page ad proposal from MWW, according to a copy reviewed by POLITICO.

CNN, which originally reported Pallone’s accusation, noted the HUD IG’s clarification that it was not investigating the procurement process . . . in the eleventh paragraph of its story.

Tags: Chris Christie , HUD , Frank Pallone

Sebelius: Insurers Aren’t Dropping Customers, They’re Improving Coverage.



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A little-noticed released statement from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Wednesday: “As insurers have made clear – they aren’t dropping consumers; they’re improving their coverage options.”

The insurers aren’t “dropping customers” in the way that the Obamacare insurance-exchange web site has “never crashed,” I suppose. Of course, even if the post-cancellation options are better – an unproven assertion to many wary customers, or they deem the price too high — there are a significant number of folks who just wanted the status quo in their plans. That’s why “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” was so important. A significant chunk of the public just wanted to keep their plan the way it was.

Of course, Sebelius’s comment that the insurance companies are just trying to help people with improved options contradicts House Democrats’ spin that the cancellation notices represent the insurance companies being dishonest and sneaky:

“If your insurance is being canceled, it’s not because of the Affordable Care Act,” [Rep. Frank] Pallone [D., N.J.] said. “The insurance company is not telling the truth!”

Tags: Kathleen Sebelius , Frank Pallone , Obamaacare

It’s New Jersey’s Primary Day, or as Booker Calls It, ‘Coronation Day’



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Today is the primary election for New Jersey’s special U.S. Senate election, prompted by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. On the Republican side, Steve Lonegan and Alieta Eck are competing, with Lonegan favored.

On the Democratic side, Newark mayor Cory Booker is heavily favored against Representative Rush Holt, Representative Frank Pallone, and state-assembly speaker Sheila Oliver. 

Polls opened at 6 a.m., and are open until 8 p.m.

UPDATE: For the reader contending that Romney voters have no right to demand any candidate release his tax returns, a reminder:

YEARS OF TAX RETURNS RELEASED

Mitt Romney: 2

Cory Booker: 0

Tags: Cory Booker , Steve Lonegan , Alieta Eck , Rush Holt , Frank Pallone , Sheila Oliver

Hey, Remember Cory Booker's Pledge?



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Over in New Jersey:

Hours after Chris Christie set the special election clock in motion, New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) started making a round of calls telling people [he] plans to run for the Senate, sources confirmed to POLITICO.

Pallone, who had acted as next-in-line for Lautenberg’s seat for years, had been on the fence about whether to challenge Newark mayor Cory Booker in a primary in 2014 for the seat.

Booker is a strong fundraiser and is the odds-on favorite. But the special election this year allows Pallone to keep his congressional seat if he loses, making this something of a free shot for him.

The coverage seems to suggest Booker is running. So Booker’s big pledge from last December is now moot, huh? “Let there be no doubt, I will complete my full second term as mayor. As for my political future, I will explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014.”

Notice the lack of conditions or wiggle room in that statement.

But I guess he meant, “unless our 89-year-old senator dies in office or something.”

Tags: Cory Booker , Chris Christie , Frank Pallone , Frank Lautenberg

Not Longer Solid D: Frank Pallone, Dennis Kucinich, Peter DeFazio



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The Cook Political Report makes a few more adjustments to its ratings, one week out:

  • MA-06   John Tierney   Solid D to Likely D
  • NJ-06   Frank Pallone   Solid D to Likely D
  • NC-04   David Price   Solid D to Likely D
  • OH-10   Dennis Kucinich   Solid D to Likely D
  • OR-04   Peter DeFazio   Solid D to Likely D
  • TN-05   Jim Cooper   Solid D to Likely D
  • TX-25   Lloyd Doggett   Solid D to Likely D

The group is projecting

a Democratic net loss of 48 to 60 seats, with higher losses possible. A turnover of just 39 seats would tip majority status into Republican hands. The midterm maelstrom pulling House Democrats under shows no signs of abating, if anything it has intensified. Whereas fewer than a third of Democratic Senate seats are up for election, House Democrats are suffering the full violence of this national undertow. Over a quarter of the entire 255-member House Democratic caucus have trailed GOP opponents in at least one public or private survey, and nearly half have tested under 50 percent of the vote in at least one poll.

In related news, a large green figure is reportedly smashing through the walls of the offices of The Weekly Standard.

Tags: Dennis Kucinich , Frank Pallone

Frank Pallone Leads Anna Little by One? I Want to Believe.



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In the congressional district I grew up in, is 11-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey only one point ahead of GOP challenger Anna Little?

Like the X-Files poster, I want to believe. But that’s not quite the same as believing.

This is a D+8 district, and Pallone usually wins by wide margins — with 67 percent in 2008, 69 percent in 2006, 67 percent in 2004, 66 percent in 2002. One of the reasons I had never put this race terribly high on my list of competitive contests is Pallone’s gargantuan financial advantage. As of September 30, he has more than $4.2 million cash on hand (a side effect of his interest in running statewide for a long while) while Little’s financial resources align with her surname, a little over $109,000 cash on hand as of October 13.

A poll like this one, commissioned by Little, might get Pallone to dip into his considerable cash reserves to ensure his traditional advantage. (After Christie carried his district, Pallone would be a fool to take his reelection for granted.) But if Pallone really is at 35 percent in his job-approval rating, as the Little poll suggests, then perhaps all the money in the world can’t persuade his constituents to keep him.

Tags: Anna Little , Frank Pallone

I Guess Frank Wasn’t That Hungry



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Frank Pallone, the Democrat who represents Edison, New Jersey, was not around for President Obama’s sub-shop visit in his district yesterday.

Congress was in session. But how often does the president come to New Jersey’s 6th congressional district?

The GOP candidate who seeks to unseat him, Anna Little, did appear with protesters yesterday.

Tags: Anna Little , Frank Pallone

A Little Underdog Against Frank Pallone



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Up in New Jersey’s 6th congressional district, Diane Gooch has decided not to pursue a recount in a closely contested GOP House primary. The Republican candidate against Frank Pallone, a Democrat who has been in Congress since 1988, will be Anna Little. Little won by 84 votes out of more than 13,000.

This is one of those races that prove that money isn’t everything. Gooch raised $432,902; Little raised $21,719. Pallone has been saving up for a statewide run someday and is sitting on more than $4 million.

Tags: Anna Little , Frank Pallone

The Choice in New Jersey’s Sixth District: Gooch or Little



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On my list of 99, New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone was among the last. He’s usually won comfortably, but if Middlesex County could tire of a big-spending Democrat like Jon Corzine, it’s not unthinkable they could consider turning in their longtime congressman. A Campaign Spot reader tells of his interactions with GOP House candidates Diane Gooch and Anna Little.

You’re calling Pallone a potentially marked man in NJ-6.  I just went to the polls this morning and wanted to share my experiences with you for today and leading up to today. Prior to primary day I separately sent notes to both the Gooch and Little campaigns requesting a schedule of when they would be in northern Middlesex County.  (Their websites had a lot of events in Monmouth County.)  The Gooch campaign did not respond.  The Little campaign sent an event calendar that included an appearance at a Young Republican event in Bridgewater, which is outside the district but plenty close to me.  Being in the same generation as you as much as I would like to consider myself a young republican I probably don’t exactly fit their demographic, yet I went to meet Anna.  Much to my dismay she was a no show.  I sent a note back to the campaign expressing my disappointment, to which the response came that her husband had a medical issue that caused her to miss the event.  Her other scheduled event in Middlesex County for last Friday was also cancelled, but she made the effort to reach me by phone to introduce herself and talk.  I must say I was impressed by the effort, but what struck me as odd was after forty five minutes on the phone she closed without asking me for my vote.  As a sales guy you don’t leave without asking for the order.  

I’ve probably seen an equal number of Little and Gooch signs throughout the area.  Gooch has sent a single mailer in the past week and has made several radio ad buys on NY stations.  Nothing comparable from Little.  Pallone is sitting on a $1+M war chest that he would prefer to use on a statewide run for Senate.  Gooch has the ability to self fund and could force Pallone to  spend more money today to defend his seat.

If the wave that began with Christie continues in November Pallone is out; if Pallone still pulls it out a Gooch candidacy could weaken his resources for 2012 and allow for a more competitive Senate race (big if’s.) According to Little her campaign solicited a debate with Gooch, but the Gooch campaign did not respond.  Gooch is a political novice with money.  The availability of her money is driving her candidacy and appeal; her convictions and strength of her ability to sell is message in person is in question.  Little struck me as a conservative’s conservative almost to an extreme.  I think not only did she drink the Kool-Aid, but she might have overdosed on it.  She was talking to me about building veto proof majorities in both houses.  Nice thought, but practically speaking doesn’t seem very practical.  Little definitely is a conviction politician that can bring demonstrable experience.  Overall a tough, but very distinct decision for primary voters today. Went to my local poll at 9:30 AM.  Place was dead.  I was number ten for republicans; saw two had voted on the Dem side.  Anyway, thought I would give you another data point from your old locale.

UPDATE: With few races beyond some House primaries, New Jersey voters aren’t all that enthralled by this primary-election day. Save Jersey reports:

A local Republican volunteer in Camden County just told me that she voted at 3:45pm at her home precinct. The poll worker told her that she was only the 6th Republican to vote today! We’re getting similar reports from Monmouth County, too, and each of the other 19 counties. Only 8 percent of eligible primary voters turned out in 2006 (11 percent bothered to show up in 2004).

Tags: Anna Little , Diane Gooch , Frank Pallone

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