2013 Ain’t that far Away (thank God)

The Courier-Post‘s opinion editor Mike Daniels ran a recent Sunday feature citing folks, “who closely follow state politics to give us their take — who they think might vie for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and what advice they would give the candidates.”

I am excited to hear how’d you’d answer. Meantime, here was my take:

“My short list includes Sweeney, Buono and Booker at this point. If the election were tomorrow I think a Sweeney/Buono ticket seems most plausable, given the state’s machine-driven dynamics which don’t favor Booker at the moment. A Rob Andrews/Loretta Weinberg ticket is my fantasy pick.”

My recommendations for the Democrats who throw their hat in against Christie: (below)

“Re-frame the debates more aggressively. For example: Christie blames public-sector workers for the soaring health care burden on New Jersey taxpayers. Nonsense. The real driver of skyrocketing health care costs is treating chronic illnesses that are associated with high obesity rates such as diabetes and heart disease. If you don’t think chronic obesity is a fair and legitimate debate, you’re not being honest about public policy. By taking the debate off Christie’s terms it’s pretty easy to show that the governor is not part of the solution; he is the problem. And let’s not forget his testy the governor gets when he’s out of his comfort zone.

“Be the anti-Christie. The governor likes to remind voters what’s wrong with New Jersey to push his policy agenda. To hear him talk you’d think Jersey is a bona fide hellhole with residents running for the exits like their hair is on fire. I totally don’t buy that. I think New Jersey is awesome and I’d advise the Democrat to present a counterpoint to our perpetually cranky governor.

“Tips from an old field hand: Focus like a laser beam on women, older voters and Burlington County.

It’s a long weekend, folks. Plenty of time to share your picks AND your advise.

Comments (5)

  1. firstamend07

    Chris Christie has a shelf life. He changes the dialogue,but not always the substance.

    Now we know why he did not get reelected in his other position years ago. He is more loud then  good.

    For those keeping score, Sweeney has out manueved him on every issue. Very little of what Christie wanted did he get intact.

    He has hit his peak in New Jersey. About 40% will always love him, about 45% will be on the other side. His ego and his demeanor wear thin after about 18 Months.

    Those who think he is a long term national candidate are very wrong. Nationally, his time is right now. He will never be more popular.

    By 2013 he will be very vulnerable in the State. He will not even be a blip in the 2016 presidential race.

    If I were Christie I would get out of New Jersey as soon as possible and get into Iowa.    

  2. FreeDem

    Christie won’t go to Iowa unless he wants to be remembered as the one who lost to Obama. He’s not that dumb, so better to stay out of it. Republicans have no candidates (except possibly Jeb Bush, who probably won’t run either) and they know it. They’re gonna have to put their people in just for show. If the Obama team pumps up the volume, if necessary, it’ll drown their same old tired voices out.

    Absent a crippling blow, Christie stands a better chance in NJ in 2013. After viewing Codey’s hilarious video on Norcross, not sure a Norcross aligned ticket like Sweeny would beat Christie. Dems loosely aligned with Christie, like Norcross, Adubato, or Booker will put up a weak fight. Buono? She’s good, but don’t think she can take it all the way. I like Codey, Sarlo, and Union County Dems for keeping it real, though only Codey has the recognition to come close to pulling it off.

  3. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Not a “Reagan Democrat,” a tool of the education privateers, or someone who accused Obama of siding with Hamas.  The only real Democrat mentioned is Buono.  She’s the only of those I could support.  The other three suck.  Big time.

  4. Bertin Lefkovic

    Unless Sweeney is prepared to pull a Rob Andrews-esque switcheroo, he is going to have to give up his Senate seat and the Senate Presidency (unless Democrats not aligned with Adubato and Norcross can organize their own coup – not likely) to run for Governor.  The same is true for Buono and her Majority Leadership.

    Cory Booker is the only one of the three most-talked about candidates who won’t have to risk anything to run for Governor, which means that he will most likely run, although Adubato could simultaneously threaten to run a strong mayoral challenger against him in 2014 if he runs for Governor in 2013 and promise support from the Adubato-Norcross axis in 2017 or 2021 if he waits, which he is young enough to do.

    So if Sweeney is willing to give up everything that he has at the moment for the chance to take on Christie in 2013, he will probably get the chance to do so, only because Buono has almost as much to lose and would have a very hard time beating him in a contested primary.

    Sweeney would most likely have the party lines in Atlantic, Cape May, Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, Ocean, Essex, and Hudson Counties.  Buono would most likely have Middlesex and Union Counties.  Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, and Monmouth Counties would all be toss-ups.

    The only way that Buono could beat Sweeney would be to win the line in all of the tossups AND be willing to run full candidate slates in every county where she doesn’t have the line.  She would need incumbents like Dick Codey, John McKeon, and Mila Jasey to run for re-election off the line.

    Buono would also need the progressive grassroots in this state to be more organized than they have ever been (even more organized than when we had Howard Dean inspiring us in 2003 and 2004).  I don’t know how many of the tossup counties elect their county committees this year versus next year, but if any of them elect them this year, we missed our chance to get the people on the ballot who will make this all-important decision in 2013.

    I would be very surprised to see Buono as Sweeney’s LG or Sweeney as Buono’s LG, unless they both play this game of chicken all the way to the first Tuesday of June 2013 and have nothing else to hang their hat on if they lose and I do not expect that to happen.

    I think that the Adubato-Norcross axis will most likely get Sweeney the party lines in both Bergen and Passaic Counties despite the best efforts of people like Loretta Weinberg and Jeff Gardner respectively and even some purple and red counties that seem to have more small-d democratic party organizations on the surface will be swayed the wrong way.  If I had to guess, I would say that Mercer, Monmouth, and Morris Counties will provide the most surprising of disappointments.

    The only upside to this scenario is that if everything is going to go Sweeney’s way, it will be clear enough to give Buono the opportunity to cut a deal for the Senate Presidency if the axis is willing to cut a deal.  If they think that they can muscle their way past her, they could just as easily keep Sheila Oliver as Assembly Speaker and give the Senate Presidency to Donald Norcross.  They might not even let Buono keep her Majority Leadership position, giving it to someone like Paul Sarlo in return for delivering Bergen County.

    If they did all of this to her and then threw her the LG bone, I would like to think that she would say no and be satisfied to run for re-election to her State Senate seat, biding her time until the axis collapses under the weight of its corrupt bulk.

    I think that someone like Sandra Bolden Cunningham or Teresa Ruiz is a more likely LG pick unless neither of them want to give up their Senate seats to run for LG, which is entirely possible.  It is also possible that someone like Valerie Vainieri Huttle could be tapped to run for LG as a way of appeasing the progressive grassroots, which would undoubtably work, because we are so easily appeased.

    So if I had to predict the Democratic ticket today, I would say that it will be Cory Booker and Diane Allen (who will switch parties shortly after being the only Republican to vote to override Christie’s veto of the women’s healthcare bill, because despite the fact that Sweeney has all of the levers of power at his disposal to win the Democratic nomination and a Republican incumbent whose popularity will probably continue to decline, I do not think that he has the guts to give up everything that he has right now to run against Christie.  I don’t think that he will run in 2013 or 2017 or 2021 and by 2025, when he wouldn’t have to risk anything to run, it will probably be too late.

    So Booker/Allen against Christie/Guadagno it is, although I hope that I am wrong and Buono figures out some way to win the nomination.


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