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SENATOR BOOKER’S TALES COULD MAKE HIM VULNERABLE
Human Events ^ | April 14, 2014 | Mark Impomeni

Posted on 04/16/2014 12:01:48 PM PDT by neverdem

Newark, April 10–New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) may be headed for a more difficult reelection campaign this fall than many political professionals seem to think. The reason: the mainstream press, which has been his biggest booster, is now beginning to question not only his veracity but his competence as Newark mayor, which recently took a hit from a report issued by the state comptroller.

When he announced his intention to seek a Senate seat, Booker was considered a shoo-in. But the Senate campaign turned out to be no coronation. Although polls in early August had Booker with a 35-point lead, he struggled to an 11-point win over former mayor and American’s for Prosperity state director Steve Lonegan, a noted conservative gadfly. Lonegan ran a pugnacious campaign, attacking Booker’s stewardship of Newark directly while Booker put forth a lackluster effort noted more for the time he spent out of state fundraising than the time he spent in state campaigning.

Lonegan was aided by a story in National Review Online that revived questions about Booker’s background. In the story, Rutgers University professor and Booker supporter Clement Price told NRO that a drug dealer Booker called T-Bone, was a creation of Booker’s, not an actual person with whom the mayor shared a life-changing encounter. According to Booker, he shared a cab ride with T-Bone after an altercation in which the drug dealer allegedly threatened his life. The story ends with Booker befriending T-Bone and counseling him to turn himself in to the authorities. It was part of the personal narrative that he rode to Democratic Party stardom.

The questions about T-Bone helped take some of the luster off Booker. More importantly, the T-Bone story exposed Booker’s tendency toward exaggeration, bringing all aspects of his record into question, and not just from Republicans.

Last month, a New York Times reporter visited Newark to report on the aftermath of Booker’s mayoralty, and concluded that Booker’s tenure did not live up to his billing. Titled, “Leader’s Words Don’t Tell the Real Story,” the article excoriates Booker for cronyism, absenteeism, no-bid contracts, increasing homicides, and straight up corruption on his watch.

In late February, the New Jersey State Comptroller issued a report detailing allegations of official misconduct and embezzlement of public funds at the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation, a non-profit contracted by the city to manage its drinking water system, by people with close ties to Booker.

The report alleges former executive director Linda Watkins-Brashear – a Booker campaign volunteer and donor – padded her official salary, made more than $50,000 in unauthorized payments for no-show or menial jobs, awarded no-bid contracts to political fellow-travelers, and took a severance package of more than $200,000 in 2009 when she “resigned” her office even though she continued working at the corporation until 2013. Brashear then took another severance payout of more than $450,000.

The board counsel, Elnardo Webster – Booker’s former law partner and campaign treasurer – helped make it all possible. The report alleges Webster approved the no-bid contracts in violation of the corporation’s by-laws, and routinely allowed the board to make decisions without a quorum of members present. For his services, Webster received more than a million dollars in legal fees over a four-year period.

Booker, as mayor, was chairman of the corporation’s board, which received over $10 million a year from the city. The comptroller’s report says that the corporation’s board acted, “free from any meaningful oversight,” on Booker’s watch. Booker defends his stewardship, claiming that he authorized the city’s business administrator to attend board meetings in his place. But the report notes that Booker’s business administrator resigned in 2010, and that Booker never appointed a replacement.

As far back as December 2012, the New York Times chronicled Booker’s image-over-substance record as Newark’s celebrity mayor. The article poked holes in famous Booker exploits, such as roving the streets with a snow shovel to clear residents’ driveways, rescuing a woman from a burning building and receiving burns to his hand, and living on food stamps for a week to better connect with many in his poverty-stricken city. In each case, the Times exposed the reality behind the legend: Newark had no snow removal contract and streets were not maintained; Booker had eliminated three fire companies to save money after failing to close a budget hole; and six years after taking office Newark was as poor as ever despite Booker’s repeated promises to lift the city and its residents out of the grinding poverty that characterized it.

Taken together – the exaggerations and the less-than-meets-the-eye record as mayor – Booker’s flaws add up to a serious weakness that could cost him a bigger political future. New Jersey Republicans will certainly look to capitalize on them in this year’s campaign. New Jersey is a deep-blue state. But Booker’s underwhelming performance in the special election demonstrated that he could be vulnerable to a candidate who is willing to attack his record head on.

Four Republicans are vying for the chance to do just that. West Orange businessman Brian Goldberg, Freehold businessmen Rich Pezzullo, Ramapo College professor Murray Sabrin, and former Senate candidate Jeff Bell are seeking the nomination in the June primary. Human Events will have more on each of Booker’s challengers in a forthcoming profile.

Still, it will be a difficult race for the eventual Republican nominee. Booker remains a media darling even if it is asking more questions about the man behind the persona. Booker’s biggest hurdle may ultimately be his own carefully crafted image.

Mark Impomeni is a freelance conservative opinion writer and blogger living in New Jersey.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: booker; corybooker; tbone; waltermitty
With all that dirt available, Booker was elected to the Senate? If the NJ GOP couldn't back Lonegan, then the NJ GOP needs to clean house, IMHO.
1 posted on 04/16/2014 12:01:48 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Quick scan of the article left me with the same impression of another guy from the midwest who ran for that state’s senate. Cannot recall the name, just that he had big ears which matched his ego and his pension for lying.


2 posted on 04/16/2014 12:05:08 PM PDT by Mouton (The insurrection laws perpetuate what we have for a government now.)
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To: neverdem

Toricelli
Lautenberg
Menendez

Pffft... this is New Jersey.


3 posted on 04/16/2014 12:05:25 PM PDT by Obadiah (I like Krabby Patties.)
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To: neverdem

Oh boy it would be sweet if the democrats had to spend money in NJ to protect Booker. I’d like to see them spread as thin as possible!


4 posted on 04/16/2014 12:07:00 PM PDT by cotton1706 (ThisRepublic.net)
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To: Coleus; jocon307; Alberta's Child; Pharmboy; Calpernia; Malsua; dead; nj26; OldFriend; Clemenza; ...

Ping


5 posted on 04/16/2014 12:09:59 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem

This will damage Booker for sure... instead of winning by 35 pts, his margin of victory will drop all the way down to 30.


6 posted on 04/16/2014 12:27:40 PM PDT by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: neverdem
The story is true. T-Bone has been located:


7 posted on 04/16/2014 12:34:21 PM PDT by Defiant (Let the Tea Party win, and we will declare peace on the American people and go home.)
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To: neverdem

One could hope. The real question is will his replacement actually be any better. Or just sneakier with the corruption...


8 posted on 04/16/2014 12:40:00 PM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: neverdem

Does that mean Newark is as big a craphole as it was before he was mayor?

Wow—standards are low for the media when it comes to liberal politicians.


9 posted on 04/16/2014 12:41:05 PM PDT by JeffChrz (2014--still the best idiots money can buy.)
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To: ScottinVA
This will damage Booker for sure... instead of winning by 35 pts, his margin of victory will drop all the way down to 30.

He only won by 11 last time. He is not invulnerable, and certainly not a lock to win by 2 to 3 dozen percentage points. It all depends on whether the Republican nominee is "unelectable" (by GOPe standards), in which case it could be close, or "electable" (by GOPe standards), in which case Booker will cruise. But if the GOPe joins with the Democrats in attacking the Republican nominee (which they usually do when their chosen candidate fails in the primary), then Booker will cruise, regardless.
10 posted on 04/16/2014 12:48:27 PM PDT by jjsheridan5
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To: neverdem

As an aside - there is lying, and padding a resume, then there is making up people named “T-Bone,” who the heck does stuff like that? So incredibly bizarre.


11 posted on 04/16/2014 12:56:11 PM PDT by PghBaldy (12/14 - 930am -rampage begins... 12/15 - 1030am - Obama's advance team scouts photo-op locations.)
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To: neverdem

Isn’t Booker the one who’s best buds with Fatboy?


12 posted on 04/16/2014 1:00:18 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: jjsheridan5

He’s a two-fer!


13 posted on 04/16/2014 1:00:54 PM PDT by Dr. Ursus
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To: ScottinVA

“Lonegan ran a pugnacious campaign, attacking Booker’s stewardship of Newark directly while Booker put forth a lackluster effort noted more for the time he spent out of state fundraising than the time he spent in state campaigning.”

You’re right; when you cut through the spin, Booker won without even really campaigning. He is NJ’s Obama (though he has more experience than Obama), and oddly enough was viewed as the “white” candidate when he unseated Sharpe James (the previous king of Newark).

If ObamaCare and the economy in general can’t deliver these mid-terms to the Republicans, they may as well close up shop. NJ is in terrible shape economically, and the lies of Booker’s accomplishments in Newark (where most taxpayers would never verify them) won’t fly over the state as a whole.


14 posted on 04/16/2014 2:14:42 PM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: neverdem

I like the line - “noted conservative gadfly”.
In the real world Lonegan is a solid conservative and a thorn in the side of the proggs.
Thanks for the ping.


15 posted on 04/16/2014 3:32:37 PM PDT by certrtwngnut (')
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To: Obadiah

Exactly. The fact that Mendendez, who paid his pimp for trips to other countries so he could have sex with children, is still in office instead of in prison tells us everything we need to know about just how far this country has fallen.


16 posted on 04/16/2014 4:42:39 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX (All those who were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48)
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To: neverdem

Cory Booker is an even more talented liar than Barack Obama.


17 posted on 04/16/2014 11:04:01 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The tree of liberty needs a rope.)
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To: Carry_Okie

Let’s not forget Christy Creme COULD HAVE appointed the pubbie but
FATTY chose NOT to!!!


18 posted on 04/16/2014 11:20:05 PM PDT by Kit cat (OBummer must go)
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To: neverdem
Why didn't Christie appoint someone like Judge Napolitano who would have served until the end of the unexpired term (end of 2014)? Why didn't Christie support Cuccinelli for Governor in Virginia?

Christie is much more comfortable with Booker in the Senate and Terry McAuliffe (Clintooon's busom buddy) in Viginia!
19 posted on 04/17/2014 3:12:01 AM PDT by leprechaun9
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To: neverdem

Booker has nothing to worry about.

This is the second mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking gay. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.


20 posted on 04/17/2014 3:21:15 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: Carry_Okie

Dats raycist!

Time to seriously check the RAT voting machines, busing union “voters”, eternal (after death) voters, forgetful absentee voters......


21 posted on 04/17/2014 5:19:38 AM PDT by Leo Carpathian (FReeeeepeesssssed)
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