The annual League of Municipalities Convention is really 3 things at once – an educational experience on better governance for new and veteran elected officials; a marketing opportunity for existing and would-be public sector vendors; and a networking opportunity for incumbent and future politicians. Having attended this week’s convention in (at least) one of those capacities, here’s a Lucky 7 recap of what I came away with, in no particular order:
1- Yes, the 2013 race for Governor has begun. While I’m not sure it will really take off until Congressional Redistricting is finished, it’s pretty clear who the big 3 potential candidates are right now – Steve Sweeney, Barbara Buono and Dick Codey – each of whom have a solid core of supporters, with little crossover from one to the other. Honorable mention would go to Wiz, who shouldn’t be counted out just yet. But, that’s pretty much it.
2- Speaking of Congressional Redistricting, which could legitimately alter the 2013 governor’s race, there is some speculation that a map could produce more than one battle among incumbents in 2012. There’s still no solid intel on who it will be. But, if I were a betting man (which I am, though I never did manage to gamble while in AC this week), I would predict the big drama will be in Central Jersey, and not North Jersey, as is often speculated.
3- And, speaking of 2012, the recent passing of Asm. Biondi in LD-16 means there will be a special election next year for Assembly there, on the heels of a surprisingly close race there this year. Given the recent history of Democratic performance in Somerset County in Presidential elections, expect to hear much more about this race. Marie Corfield, hope you’re listening.
4- Not Marie, but another Blue Jersey friend with a big opportunity coming sooner rather than later, Vin Gopal was everywhere to be seen in AC. And, that can’t hurt his effort to nab the soon-to-be-vacant Monmouth County chairmanship. It’s going to be a fight, but I can’t think of a better place for Vin to land. Are you a county committee member in Monmouth? Give Vin a call.
5- Further into the future, I have to say between Brendan Gill and Len Luciano, Essex County has some great young up-and-coming talent to watch. Juxtapose that exciting future with the repeated hand-wringing I overheard about the current “North-South” power alliance. It’s not just academic anti-democracy concerns, but rather electoral anti-democratic worries that people are talking about. (And FYI – I was a bit surprised to see how far beyond the Blue Jersey community those worries extend.)
6- Is it too soon to talk about 2014? With the Bergen GOP seriously licking its wounds, it’s no wonder Democrats are already looking forward to the County Executive race there. And, the Irish Pub seemed as good a place as any to get that ball rolling.
7- Atlantic City haters – chew on this: whatever your budget, you can get some amazing food. Whitehouse Subs? Yes. Chef Vola’s? Omigod.
It was a fun one. And, who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get to attend in still another capacity.