Ever since it was announced that progressive State Senators, Barbara Buono and Joe Vitale, could find themselves in the same legislative district, progressives have been apoplectic with rage over the possibility that an already regressive Democratic State Senate could be short yet another progressive State Senator when the next legislature is sworn in next year.
However, what nobody seems to realize is the possibility that both Buono and Vitale could find themselves on the outside looking in next year unless they agree to work cooperatively rather than competitively. How? Read below the fold to find out.
Thanks to short attention spans, lost in the outrage over redistricting rumors is the pending battle in Middlesex County to determine who will lead the party in the wake of the arrest and resignation of its former Democratic County Chairman, Joe Spicuzzo. At the moment, the two contenders for the throne are former State Senator from Edison, Peter Barnes, and former McGreevey staffer, Kevin McCabe, from Woodbridge, who is Mayor John McCormac’s choice.
By all accounts, this leadership battle was going to pit the county’s two largest cities and their allies against one another in what was shaping up to be a very competive and unpredictable race. However, as we all know, if there is anything that party bosses, especially Democratic party bosses, hate, it is competitive and unpredictable races.
This is why I think that this scenario has far less to do with John Wisniewski’s State Senatorial ambitions, which would most likely not be satisfied if the Latino communities of New Brunswick and Perth Amboy are able to unite behind a consensus State Senate candidate, requiring both incumbent State Assemblymen, Joseph Egan and Wisniewski, to take a back seat, and much more to do with backroom dealing between the Edison and Woodbridge party bosses and their liaison to the Adubato-Norcross axis, party chairman, Wisniewski.
The deal that is probably being struck as I write this is pretty simple. Barnes steps aside as party chairman candidate, backs McCabe for the job, and his son, Assemblyman Peter Barnes III, becomes the consensus State Senatorial candidate with Woodbridge getting both Assembly seats.
The only solution to defeating the bosses and keeping both Buono and Vitale in Trenton is the creation of a unified progressive slate. For this plan to work, Vitale would have to be willing to accept a two-year demotion to the State Assembly, running behind Buono, who would most likely have to give up her seat in 2013 to run for Governor. Buono and Vitale would have to recruit someone from Edison, possibly Jun Choi (or maybe our state’s – and possibly the country’s – first transgender state legislator, Babs Siperstein, to fill out their slate.
With or without the party line, a Buono-Vitale-Siperstein slate would be very hard to beat if egos allow for it to come to pass.