Chuck Haytaian, Toys R Us, and really cheap suits

Sometime early in his 1994 United States Senate campaign against Frank Lautenberg, Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian got a meeting with Charles Lazarus, the Toys R Us founder who passed away yesterday at age 94.  Lazarus was a Democrat, but his company was based in New Jersey where Republicans controlled just about everything.  Haytaian wanted Lazarus to help him raise money. If you entered New Jersey politics after 2001 and don’t

The Life and Times of Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell’s upset victory over four-term U.S. Senator Clifford Case in the 1978 Republican primary was one of the great political campaigns in New Jersey history.  Bell was a 35-year-old speechwriter for Ronald Reagan’s 1976 presidential campaign, and Case became the only incumbent U.S. Senator in New Jersey history to lose a primary. Bell, who died on Saturday at the age of 74, was a thinker, an intellectual who was

The day Frank Pallone took a walk

It’s difficult to admit that the 2002 U.S. Senate race was so long ago that many people involved in New Jersey politics today don’t remember it.  Bob Torricelli was the Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey and he was dealing with the aftermath of an admonishment by the Senate Ethics Committee. To help keep the seat in Democratic hands – Democrats had a one-seat majority in the Senate at the

Hugin should learn Forrester story

Before Bob Hugin enters the race for United States Senator, he ought to call Doug Forrester. Sixteen years ago, Forrester was a self-funder whose $10 million investment -- $14 million in today’s dollars – was supposed to send him to the U.S. Senate against a Democratic incumbent weakened by ethical woes.   A Star-Ledger/Eagleton Rutgers poll released the last weekend of September had Forrester ahead by 13 points. Bob Torricelli, “severely