…whether or not Hawthorne remains in LD35.
…whether or not Currie, Pascrell, and the PCDO support Girgenti or choose to go in a different direction in LD35.
If Hawthorne remains in LD35, I predict that Sweeney and the Norcross machine will want to have a dog in this fight, and unless that dog is Girgenti, my guess is that they recruit someone from Paterson to take Girgenti on, which would create an interesting conundrum for Jeff.
If Norcross and Sweeney through their relationship with Adubato and Oliver place enough pressure on Currie, they could get their slate of candidates the party endorsement in Passaic County. If they are backing someone from Paterson instead of Girgenti, then they would probably want Jeff to run for Assembly on that slate.
The big question is whether or not Jeff wants to get into bed with the bosses or not, especially since that would mean making peace with Sweeney, who abstained on the marriage equality vote and placed pressure on other Senators to do the same or worse, vote no.
As much as I dislike Norcross, Sweeney, et al, I wouldn’t hold it against Jeff if he agreed to run with their slate of candidates. Sadly, these are the kinds of tough choices that otherwise good and progressive people like Jeff are forced to make to be able to be effective advocates for their issues of concern, especially in the absence of an organized progressive community that can provide a legitimate alternative to the Democratic establishment in our state.
And as much as I would love to see Jeff run on a progressive slate of candidates against both a Girgenti slate and a boss-backed slate, it is hard to imagine such a slate having access to the resources required to win a three-way race. The ideal scenario is one where the bosses back Girgenti, enabling Jeff to run on a Paterson-based progressive insurgent slate, but I don’t think that this scenario is very likely as the bosses are too smart to back a has-been like Girgenti, when they can just as easily buy an ambitious pol from Paterson.
That said, an even more likely scenario is one where they (the bosses) cleave Hawthorne from LD35 and place it into LD38, setting up a primary election standoff between Girgenti and Bob Gordon or LD40, setting up a general election standoff between Girgenti and Kevin O’Toole. Either scenario allows the bosses to choose a Paterson pol, if not an entire slate of Paterson pols and gain a stake in Passaic County politics for the next decade.
Of the two scenarios, I like the one that puts Hawthorne in LD38 the best, especially if this new LD38 no longer contains Fort Lee, where Joan Voss resides, creating an Assembly opening on the Gordon slate that could be offered to Jeff. Girgenti would then be forced to find a couple of ambitious pols from Fair Lawn and Paramus respectively to run with him.
However, if Hawthorne is placed in LD40, it simply adds a Republican-leaning town to an already heavily Republican district. My guess is that if this happens, Girgenti will retire and Jeff will probably have a very good chance at being asked to run for State Senate in what would be an extremely difficult race to win. The only other LD40 scenario where Jeff could have a remote chance of being elected to a State Assembly seat is if both Hawthorne and Dick Codey’s Fairfield are placed in the district.
Codey has committed to run for re-election no matter what district he is placed in and has a $2 million warchest from which to wage what will most likely be the last major battle of his career. Convincing Girgenti to retire so that he doesn’t have to spend any of that money on a primary election will be easy since Girgenti definitely doesn’t have the guts to run against O’Toole in LD40, much less run against Codey in a primary election.
It would be very smart of Codey to pick Jeff and possibly someone like Joan Waks or John Bartlett from Wayne to run with him. It would still be a longshot in a district like LD40, no doubt, but the combination of Codey’s and Waks’ name recognition and popularity combined with Jeff’s netroots appeal could be enough to pull off an upset.