2014: Year In Review
The Ups and Downs in Politics and Business in New Jersey in 2014
Glenn Townes | 12/1/2014, noon
Booker, 45, made his acceptance speech less than two hours after polling centers across the state closed and put the newly minted full term senator with more than 56 percent of the vote---with about 50 percent of all precincts reporting. Opponent Jeff Bell garnered about 42 percent of the vote. The former Newark mayor won a special election last year to fill vacant Senate seat of longtime politico Frank Lautenberg who passed away last year.
Delivering a fire and brimstone speech at his campaign headquarters at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, the charismatic and outspoken junior senator paid homage to his humble beginnings; thanked his mother and said he was proud to be a “Jersey boy.”
He repeated what has become a common mantra in his victory speeches over the years. He said, “We have work to do. I will continue to work with Senator Bob Menendez in moving the people of New Jersey ahead!” Bell conceded defeat in telephone call to the Booker camp shortly after the Associated Press predicted a Booker win.
Booker outspent his opponent in election ad campaigns. According to various sources, the Harrington Park native raised nearly $18 million and spent at least $15 million in ad campaigns and other expenses to nab the senate seat. His opponent, Bell, raised about $550,000, according to financial disclosure statements to the Federal Election Commission.
In addition to the re-election of Cory Booker, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman became the first African American woman to represent a New Jersey district in the House of Representatives. Overall, Democrats took a beating in the November elections with key losses in the two houses of Congress. Republicans picked up at least seven seats in the senior house of Congress overall, including Iowa, West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. Republicans needed a net gain of six seats to effectively end the Democratic majority held since 2006 and they did.
On the issue of the current state of what some New Jerseyans see as a growing trend of extremism and partisan politics in Washington, Booker said New Jersey is a state of moderates. “First and foremost, I'm a Jersey boy and it's not about left or right, it's about moving the state forward.” Speculation is rife that Booker will make a bid for the White House---after his 6 year stint as Senator is over.
The House Loses in Atlantic City
The cards were stacked and the house collapsed this year as four big
casinos in Atlantic City shut down and furloughed thousands of workers. The once quaint little seaside resort town and East Coast gambling mecca plunged deep into a financial hole. In January, the Atlantic Club became the first big casualty of the economic abyss. In September, workers at the Showboat; Trump Plaza and the Revel Casino were dismissed and the hotel/casinos closed. The billion dollar Revel was the largest of the four casinos to close. It was expected to be a cash cow for the city when it opened in 2012. However, the cash cow quickly became a cow chip and never became profitable and folded during Labor Day weekend. In September another casino, Trump Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy protection and continues to teeter on the brink of financial collapse.