MOONACHIE - The two men used to people going to them stood on the polished shiny surface of the Graycliff and waited while Newark Mayor Cory Booker bridged a gulf of milling humanity and finally found the outstreched hands of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato and Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie.
"I've got your backs," Booker told the two chairmen, who told the mayor they're worried about the potential for down-ballot damage next year when Gov. Chris Christie runs for re-election.
It wasn't an announcement of Booker's decision regarding a challenge to Christie - the one that's supposed to come within days.
It was simply a statement of party fellowship. Regardless of whether or not he runs, "I will raise money nationally," the mayor told Currie and Stellato, both here in support of Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36) at Schaer's fundraiser.
"I'll take him at his word," Currie told PolitickerNJ.com.
When Jon Corzine was on the ballot against Christie, Passaic and Bergen Democrats lost freeholder seats. They don't want that - and worse - to happen in the event a strong top of the ticket fixture opposes the Republican incumbent governor.
As the headliner at Schaer's fundraiser, Booker gave a heavy on the holidays speech, rife with Torah references and religious symbolism that drained the faces of political animals trying to understand even as they later said they were inspired.
"I know we're here for a political occasion," Booker said, "but, dear God, we have a spritual purpose."
"This is not a local speech," a Democrat said later, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He's running for something, I just don't know what."
"Pope?" someone suggested.
In fact, Booker hasn't ruled out either governor (2013) or the apparently easier path of senator (2014).
Another person actually did get in the Democratic Primary today, the first elected official to do so - state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18).
"She's a really good person," Booker said of Buono. "Should she and I run against each other, I think it would be a really good race in which we would be able to provide contrast. It would be a race about substantive solutions, not personalities. We're not slash and burn politicians. We wouldn't destroy each other on our way to being the last man standing to go up against Chris Christie."
The mayor said a primary would be good for the party.
When party guests engulfed him, at least one woman leaned in very close, told him she respects whatever it is he decides to do, then pleaded with him to run for governor.
After weeks of speculation, the direction of the Newark mayoral race may take an important turn today as prominent members of the Payne political family gather at Newark's Robert Treat Hotel at 11:30 a.m.
The campaign of Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries has called a press conference at which both U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-10) and Essex County deputy chief of staff and former state Assemblyman William D. Payne will be present.Read More >
Days Since Last Christie Press Conference (Jan. 9)
Bridget Anne Kelly’s attorney says lawmakers rushed to judgement An attorney for former top Gov. Chris Christie administration official Bridget Anne Kelly filed paperwork arguing his client shouldn’t have to comply with a legislative subpoena. The documents, filed by Kelly attorney Michael Critchley, argues lawmakers rushed to judgment...
By Suzanne M. Walters When unions representing local police and firefighters cannot agree to new contract terms with local governments, State law mandates that the parties submit to binding arbitration. A third-party referee, then, sets the... Read More >
"The governor has allowed political cronyism to continue and even flourish, rather than stamp it out, with some of his closest confidants enriching themselves through millions of dollars in state contracts, and legal and lobbying fees, an Asbury Park Press review of thousands of pages of campaign, lobbying and contracting documents found."- The Asbury Park Press
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