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Re: Losses in the Primary Leave Menendez Shaken

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Posted by Aneesah on June 17, 2003 at 14:55:08:

In Reply to: Losses in the Primary Leave Menendez Shaken posted by Manolo on June 15, 2003 at 11:04:47:

: Losses in the Primary Leave Menendez Shaken
: That noise is Menendez's power slipping away

: New York Times
: New Jersey Section
: On Politics

: 6/15/2003

: By Raymond Hernandez

: Only weeks ago,
: Robert Menendez
: was at the peak of
: his power: the Hud-
: son County leader
: whom many New
: Jersey politicians
: courted, the No. 3
: Democrat in the entire House of Rep-
: resentatives.
: But on primary night, Mr. Menen-
: dez may have been dealt the most se-
: vere political blow he has suffered in
: his rise to power, stirring a buzz
: within the state's political establish-
: ment.
: Even as he remained a solid and
: visible force on the national scene,
: Mr. Menendez watched as a slate of
: candidates he supported back home
: took a beating in the primary elec-
: tions.
: The night's results would have
: been bad enough on their own. But
: the defeat came at the hands of Mr.
: Menendez's biggest rival in Hudson
: County, Glenn D. Cunningham, the
: Democratic mayor of Jersey City.
: The unofficial election results
: from the June 3 primary also deliv-
: ered bad news for a leading Menen-
: dez ally, Joseph V. Doria, a former
: Assembly speaker who lost his seat
: by about 500 votes to Louis Manzo.
: Mr. Doria, who is challenging the
: results, sided with Mr. Menendez in
: his protracted struggle with Mr. Cun-
: ningham over who would control the
: county party, according to Demo-
: cratic strategists.
: But for Mr. Menendez, the news
: was even worse. Mr. Cunningham
: won his own primary, getting the
: nomination for State Senate in the
: 31st District over Harvey Smith, who
: had the support of Mr. Menendez and
: Governor McGreevey.
: The victory was a testament to the
: powerful base that Mr. Cunningham
: has put together in Jersey City -
: right under the nose of Mr. Menen-
: dez.
: It also helps establish Mr. Cun-
: ningham, a former United States
: marshal, as a force to be reckoned
: with in state Democratic politics.
: If Mr. Cunningham wins in No-
: vember, he will have an even loftier
: platform from which to challenge
: Mr. Menendez. The tradition of sena-
: torial courtesy, for example, gives a
: state senator veto power over any
: political appointment in his district.
: Mr. Cunningham seemed to go out
: of his way to taunt Mr. Menendez af-
: ter the votes were counted.
: "Not only did I win, but my whole
: slate won," Mr. Cunningham said.
: "What it means is that the time of
: machine tactics is dead, and that the
: negative campaign tactics that peo-
: ple use is a turnoff to the people. Me-
: nendez is a good congressman, but
: he wants to be other things. He
: shouldn't be trying to run cities, and
: now, others are seeing that they can
: be free from the machine."
: Mr. Cunningham once called Mr.
: Menendez "a political terrorist" and
: demanded that he resign as head of the
: Hudson County Democratic Party.
: The defiance shown by Mr. Cunningham,
: who wants to establish his own power
: base, has been nothing
: less than astounding, especially con-
: sidering the power wielded by Mr.
: Menendez, who has spent the last few
: years tightening his grip on Hudson
: County, a huge source of votes for
: any Democrat seeking statewide of-
: fice.
: "He has used that position to grab
: power for himself like a modern-day
: Boss Hague," Mr. Cunningham said,
: referring to Frank Hague, the Jersey
: City mayor and Democratic boss
: who ruled Hudson County from 1917
: to 1947. "He has created havoc in
: Hudson County."
: The primary results were a re-
: markable reversal of political for-
: tune for Mr. Cunningham, who had
: been an increasingly isolated figure
: in Hudson County Democratic poli-
: tics since being elected mayor in
: 2001 with the support of Mr. Menen-
: dez, a six-term congressman who
: played a pivotal role in the campaign
: to elect Mr. McGreevey.
: More than a year ago found him-
: self on the losing end of a power
: struggle between himself and Mr.
: Menendez over who would succeed
: the former Hudson County execu-
: tive, Robert C. Janiszewski, who had
: resigned.
: It would be premature to start
: writing the political obituary of Mr.
: Menendez, who stopped Robert G.
: Torricelli's plans to seek the party's
: nomination for governor in 2001 even
: before they got off the ground.
: But Mr. Menendez does seem to
: have his hands full these days. Not
: only does he have problems with Mr.
: Cunningham, but he has also been
: tangling with Mr. McGreevey.
: A few weeks ago, Mr. Menendez
: publicly rebuked the governor , ac-
: cusing him of neglecting the Hispan-
: ic community by withdrawing his
: support for Zulima Farber, of Cuban
: descent, for the state Supreme Court.
: The governor himself refused to
: fire back publicly. But people close to
: him did not, saying that Mr. Menen-
: dez was engaging in ethnic politics to
: mobilize his Hispanic base in Hudson
: County, where Mr. Cunningham has
: encouraged Democrats to challenge
: the congressman for his seat.

God Bless All Of Us: He Know's What we Don't: Aneesah

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