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Veepstakes: NJ Dems vote down Christie's judicial pick

CHRISTIE: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie drew national attention earlier this year when he nominated Bruce Harris, a gay, African-American attorney, to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Yesterday, the nomination went down in defeat as Democrats complained about his lack of courtroom experience and pledge to recuse himself from gay marriage-related cases,” Politico writes.

“In January, Gov. Christie named the nation's only openly gay African American Republican mayor as a nominee to the state Supreme Court, marking an extraordinary moment in New Jersey history,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “The Democrats' rejection Thursday of that nominee, Bruce Harris, may have been even more extraordinary.”

More: “But Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including minorities and those who have advocated for gay rights, were not swayed by what Harris had to offer. In a nearly 41/2-hour session, they seized on his statement that he would recuse himself from a same-sex marriage case that could land before the high court, and framed him as a lightweight lawyer unqualified for the job. Harris fell by the same vote count, 7-6, that two months earlier derailed the nomination of Phillip Kwon, a Korean immigrant whom Christie had picked for another seat. They are the only two gubernatorial Supreme Court nominees to be rejected by the Legislature since the state constitution was ratified in 1947.”

MCDONNELL: “Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed on to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week in Chicago,” the Richmond Times Dispatch notes. “McDonnell is scheduled to address attendees at the conservative gathering on June 8, after Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate.”

Due to weather, McDonnell missed an event with Scott Walker yesterday in Wisconsin.

PORTMAN: Portman makes the case for someone with no pizzazz. "I think what people are looking for right now is not the kind of pizzazz and pop that perhaps we thought we got in 2008, certainly President Obama offered that," he told CNN. He added, “What they want now is someone who can work closely with Congress and get things done. We have a paralysis in Washington that's not serving our country. We have to address these issues."

RUBIO: “Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday sounded a note of confidence on Mitt Romney’s standing with Hispanics, predicting that the Republican candidate’s poor polling among Latinos is “going to change,” Politico writes. Rubio told FOX, “It will get higher as people learn the differences between President Obama and Gov. Romney on the economy. The number one issue in the Hispanic community is the economy, and in particular, economic empowerment — the ability to work hard and leave your kids better off than yourself. And our argument is a strong one: We are supporters of the American free enterprise system which makes it easier for people to do that.”

Again, though, will an economic message – without talking about immigration – really move Hispanics away from Obama and toward Romney?