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Grapevine: A McGreevey comeback?

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A tipster said Jim McGreevey is telling people he's interested in running for U.S. Senate, but the former governor denied it.

"It's not zero — it's negative on my meter in life," McGreevey said.

A well-connected Democrat also dismissed the idea. "News to my ears. Don't see that in the cards," the source said.

A source said McGreevey is seriously considering overtures by Union County and Plainfield leaders that he run for Plainfield mayor. The former governor said he has no interest.

Instead, McGreevey said he is focused on his work in Hudson County, helping incarcerated women.

"I enjoy the work I do with women in jail and in prison, and helping them reclaim their lives. I have no interest in running for elected office," McGreevey said.

Through Integrity, the former governor is assisting the women in finding housing opportunities and rebuilding their lives. In a phone call, McGreevey talked passionately about the challenges facing incarcerated women and the statistics that define the odds against them. He almost sounded like a candidate and, despite his denials about considering a run for office, McGreevey hasn't lost his touch as an orator and passionate advocate.

Caliguire quagmire

A bunch of politicians blasted JCPL's response after Sandy struck, but Mark Caliguire's criticism may have been the most interesting. On Nov. 7, the Somerset County freeholder sent an eblast through the county e-mail system, saying JCP&L's response in the northern part of the county was "abysmal" and roasting the utility for removing its representative from the county's Emergency Operations Center.

"This shows a disturbing disregard for the safety of our residents," wrote Caliguire, who also is county public health and safety liaison.

His e-mail noted the number of homes without JCP&L power, and said Bernards Township was in "a crisis situation as a result of JCP&L's incredibly poor response to a storm that occurred over a week ago." He also noted at the time, Bernards had seven landlocked areas that were inaccessible to fire trucks and ambulances. "This is a tragedy waiting to happen," Caliguire wrote.

The tough talk likely played well with constituents upset about being in the dark. But how did the rant play at home, where the freeholder's wife is Tricia Caliguire, the chief counsel at the Board of Public Utilities? We bet JCP&L is wondering, too.

Can't promote Sandy beaches

With widespread devastation to coastal areas caused by Hurricane Sandy, the state will soon have another dilemma on its hands: how it promotes its tourism industry.

State officials are now looking to reassess how they spend tourism dollars, along with how they will craft the message that will go with any future marketing campaign, a source said. It won't be quite as easy as in the past, the person noted, when beaches and other attractions were simply splashed across the ads that invited visitors to New Jersey.

The source said "the message has to be different now," noting that it will probably take time for state officials to get it right.

Marketing notwithstanding, Chris Christie has not shied away from vowing to resurrect the iconic Jersey Shore. As part of his ongoing tour of storm-ravaged areas, Christie late last month said, "We'll rebuild it. No question in my mind we'll rebuild it."

A couple of characters

Herb Jackson at The Record already reported how Cory Booker hung out with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach hours after the Republican lost to Bill Pascrell Jr. in the 9th congressional district, instead of toasting victory with New Jersey Democrats.

The Election Night powwow was no secret: Boteach tweeted a photo of himself on a couch with Booker, both smiling, with this message: "me and my brother @corybooker at my home a few hours after my congressional loss. cory came over to chill & cheer up."

The "cheer up" part of the tweet set off at least one Democrat, who e-mailed the tweet out with this subject line: "booker needed to cheer up? because obama won? because menendez won? because pascrell won?"

Maybe Boteach meant "cheer me up." But pasting the tweet and link in to Twitter shows Boteach had two characters left over — four if he used an ampersand instead of "and" in the first part of the message. In a political world where every word counts, perhaps this is a character-building exercise for Booker and his friends.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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