WASHINGTON – In football, Congressman Jon Runyan (R., N.J.) wrote last week, it was at least clear who his opponents were.
In Washington, the ex-Eagles lineman writes that he couldn’t even count on that much (though he says he carried around a list of fellow Republicans who he felt had hypocritically scorned New Jersey’s plea for aid after superstorm Sandy).
“Individual personalities and self-serving strategies had become the focus of our attention — a classic example, you could say, of guys playing to get to the Pro Bowl rather than the Super Bowl,” Runyan wrote in a Politico Magazine essay published Friday, his first extensive public comments on his decision not to seek re-election after two terms.
WASHINGTON – New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez on Friday questioned the anonymous sources behind the latest report of a federal investigation into his work and said he had provided no special help to two Ecuadorians wanted on embezzlement charges in their home country.
“A year after a false smear campaign was launched against me, once again we see anonymous sources,” Menendez, a Democrat, told reporters in New Jersey. “I’d like these people to come forward but we’re back to anonymous sources making ridiculous allegations.”
The "smear campaign" refers to a report from late 2012 on the conservative Web site The Daily Caller, which cited an anonymous e-mailers unsubstantiated accusations about Menendez visiting prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. Those allegations did not withstand scrutiny -- some women said they had been bribed to lie and support the accusation -- though other ethical questions did emerge, were documented and remain unresolved.
WASHINGTON – Cory Booker has surprised many people here as a U.S. Senator, because the famous Democrat has actively avoided the spotlight in his first three months on the job.
He has not given any major speeches, he sidesteps interview requests from the national media and at one recent press conference jam-packed with lawmakers, he spoke last and spoke for just seven seconds – enough time to say he supports the bill and fade back behind his more senior Senate peers.
But Booker is stepping out of his self-imposed strait jacket as he pushes for an extension of emergency unemployment benefits. He has 11(!) public events planned Friday and Saturday throughout New Jersey to promote the cause, and last week gave the most impassioned public comments of his tenure at a press conference on the same issue.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.), said Thursday that the agency overseeing the George Washington bridge has shown "zero evidence" that the Fort Lee lane closures were "to conduct a legitimate traffic study."
Authority officials themselves called the closures an "aberrational" event.
Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, had sent questions to the Port Authoriy of New York and New Jersey, seeking answers about the September lane closures that have created a political firestorm around Gov. Christie and his staff.
WASHINGTON – Ryan Costello, chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, launched his campaign for Congress Wednesday, taking aim at a Chester-based seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), who is not seeking re-election.
Costello’s announcement included an endorsement from Val DiGiorgio, the Chester County Republican chairman, who had himself considered running for the seat. With the bulk of the district’s votes based in Chester, the chairman’s endorsement could be a valuable asset in a potential GOP primary.
“The nation and many elected officials have become so divided and polarized that it is impacting the
future direction of the country,” Costello said in a news release announcing his run. “ Republicans and Democrats are going to have their differences on policy issues – that’s the nature of political parties. But we need to separate those various policy battles from the larger issue of working together as Americans to restore a national sense of optimism and chart a course that ensures the United State is competitive on a global scale – now and in the future.”
WASHINGTON – Add two more names to the list of Democrats considering a run for Congress in the Philadelphia area.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Mark Rozzi said today he has formed an exploratory committee to look into running for the Chester-County-based seat now held by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, a Republican who is not seeking re-election -- setting off a scramble to replace him.
In South Jersey, Dave Cole, former aide to President Obama, told the Inquirer he is exploring a run for Congress in the district now represented by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R., N.J.).
This post was reported and written by Inquirer staff writers Chris Palmer and Jonathan Tamari. An abbreviated version appeared in Sunday’s Inquirer:
WASHINGTON -- Two open and competitive congressional seats in the Philadelphia suburbs have opened the door to political struggles based on county loyalty, differing strategies and at least one plain old insurgency.
WASHINGTON – Democrats in Washington do not plan on holding hearings on Gov. Christie’s bridge scandal, even if one key Senator says questions remain after the governor’s apology Thursday.
“They've got a big fat problem there. Am I convinced that he didn’t know about it? No, I’m not,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), who chairs the committee that oversees transportation. Rockefeller in December called for the U.S. Department of Transportation to look into the lane closures at the heart of the furor and sent the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey a list of questions, demanding answers by Jan. 15.
But on Thursday Rockefeller indicated that he would not call Senate hearings and would instead leave any investigation to federal prosecutors.