Despite speculation that he was dropping out, Randal Pinkett announced this morning that he will run for lieutenant governor if Jon Corzine asks him to. Also this morning, a pro-Pinkett group published an op-ed in the Star-Ledger explaining why the reality TV star is the right candidate based on his policy experience.
According to Wally Edge and the Asbury Park Press, Pinkett was the Governor’s top choice, but other Democratic leaders balked at what seemed like an ill-advised gimmick…. And they might be right…. But I have to say, I understand where Corzine is coming from. Because take a step back, and you might be able to see the allure Pinkett would have over the next three and a half months of the campaign.
Pinkett has them. If he weren’t a reality television star, he would just be a young(-ish), charismatic Rhodes Scholar/MIT Ph.D.
2) Ooh, Shiny Object.
As a reality TV star, he would generate loads of stories. No LG candidate is going to overshadow the top of the ticket for the length of time that Pinkett would. That’s a good thing in this instance — getting the focus off of Corzine for a while might do more to help the Democrats’ poll numbers than hurt them.
3) Smarts, Again.
This is why the attention he could draw would help: Pinkett ain’t Palin. Take Cory Booker’s word for it and believe the guy would ‘wow’ people.
Pinkett is not an elected official and not a traditional pol. That counts for a lot, and there’s no one else on Corzine’s short-list who can claim the same.
Now, Pinkett may very well have some skeletons in his closet, or be so pigeonholed by his television past that his abilities and competence never come to light. Then again, Pinkett could very well benefit from people underestimating him. We’re not at the point where we’re sprinting to the finish line, and a high profile LG candidate who goes from being a gimmick to a serious asset is one of those stories the press eats up.
That said, I don’t know Pinkett and I don’t know if he’d make a good candidate. If I were in Governor Corzine’s shoes, I honestly have no idea who I’d pick. But I can definitely see why Pinkett is on the short-list.