Who can rally the Dems for victory in 2013?

The writer makes the case for a vigorous 2013 primary – promoted by Rosi

I recently attended a public sector union rally where Senator Lautenberg was the headline speaker.

It was a pretty good anti-Christie program, as I expected it to be given the malevolent relationship between Lautenberg & Christie.  The Rally was focused on the recently released NJPP report that details the dreadful effects of Christie’s public sector labor cuts have had on NJ’s economy and unemployment rate.

Many of the speakers were public sector union representatives.  The ones represented I can remember off hand were, AFL-CIO, NJEA, AFT, SEIU, & IAFF.   Members of the legislature that attended and spoke were Greenstein, Watson-Coleman, and Benson.  The message was clear.  Christie’s anti-union ideology has been bad for NJ, bad for our middle class, bad for our economy and thanks to the NJPP report, scientifically proven to be bad policy.

I found Bonnie Watson-Coleman to be particularly engaging.  She  led with the chant, “fired up, ready to go!”, referring to 2013 .  During her speech she reinforced the fact that on November 7th, 2012 it shall be time to begin the process to get rid of Christie.

There was energy in the room.  It is apparent to me that the energy cannot (and will not) be spent on a half-assed democratic,machine driven, Christiecrat candidates like Sweeney, Greenwald, or Booker.  

A Booker candidacy has been debated on Blue Jersey ad nauseum, leading to the conclusion that a Christiecrat candidacy is just what Christie would like…a divided democratic party that lacks the enthusiasm to propel the base and the machines to a coherent strategy to victory.

My feeling is that the only solution is to have the most fervent of primaries.  Let the progressives, labor unions, and independent democrats battle the machine sponsored candidate.  Should a machine candidate like Sweeney prevail, I could better tolerate supporting him knowing he had to fight to get there as opposed to being anointed.

The was a lot of press at the rally.  I didn’t see any articles written about it which struck me as odd because my guess is that it was dismissed as just an “union, anti-Christie” rally.  I interpreted as a kick-off to the 2013 governor’s race with unified public sector unions looking for a candidate.  I know who that candidate won’t be…but wondering who it will be?

Comments (9)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    …will not run against one another as both have too much to lose from a loss to the other.  Booker will only run if Christie does not run for re-election.  If Christie does run for re-election, the Democratic establishment (Norcross et al) will probably back a sacrificial lamb candidate like Chris Bollwage or John Wisniewski.  Neither Senate President Sweeney nor Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald will risk their seats against Christie.  Bollwage or Wisniewski will most likely face a challenge from an insurgent outsider like Barbara Buono or Dick Codey.  It is more likely that this candidate will be Buono than Codey since she has been far more visible and vocal in her expressions of interest in it.  Codey probably has a better chance of beating Christie, but will most likely not run unless Buono doesn’t run.

    The establishment/sacrificial lamb candidate will most likely have the party lines in the eight counties that make up Norcrossippi.  If Wisniewski is this candidate, he will also have the party line in Middlesex County.  If not, Buono will get it.  If Bollwage is this candidate, he will also have the party line in Union County.  If not, Buono or Codey could have a chance at it, but it is unlikely that the party boss here, State Senator Ray Lesniak, will cross Norcross, even though he has a history of friendship with Codey.  Buono is also a good bet to get the lines in Mercer and Monmouth Counties, because of her strong relationships with electeds and party leaders in these counties.

    Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Hudson will most likely go with the establishment/sacrificial lamb candidate, but there is always the potential for surprises.  Codey definitely has a better chance to flip these counties than Buono.  Red counties like Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren will be a battleground to the degree to which their smaller numbers of registered Ds and those Us who might be willing to declare an affiliation on or before Election Day can be driven to the polls.  These counties represent the best chances for insurgents to do well, because there is little to no party machinery in these counties beholden to party bosses inside and outside of the counties in question.

    Based on all of this, I think that the most likely primary election matchup is Buono vs Wisniewski, primarily because the bosses cannot get Middlesex County without backing Wiz, while they don’t necessarily need to back Bollwage to get Union County.  If Bollwage does not get the backing of the bosses, it is possible, but not likely that he could run anyway, as his candidacy would be more likely to take votes away from an insurgent candidate than an establishment candidate.  Conversely, it is a virtual certainty that Wiz will not run without the support of the bosses as he would not risk their wrath.

    If I am right about this, Wisniewski would most likely have the party lines in 14 (Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, and Union) counties, while Buono would most likely have the party lines in 7 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren) counties.

    With this kind of stacked deck against her, Buono’s only real chance is to build opposition candidate slates in the 14 counties where she does not have the party line.  County-level candidates are essential for bracketing purposes, municipal-level candidates are essential for grassroots organizing, while state-level candidates are essential for giving an insurgency the credibility that it will need to be taken seriously by the mass media.  Whether or not Senator Buono is ready, willing, and able to recruit people to run with her against many of her Democratic colleagues in the Assembly and Senate will determine whether or not she has a shot in hell of becoming the Democratic Party’s first gubernatorial nominee in the history of our state.  Personally, I would not bet on it.


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