Hammering the phones all day long, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) this afternoon folded the tent flaps of Mercer County over her CD12 candidacy.
A veteran assemblywoman and former Democratic State Party chair, Watson Coleman secured the endorsements of Mercer County Democratic Chair Liz Muoio, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, Clerk Paula Covello and Deputy Clerk Walker Worthy, Jr.
Watson Coleman welcomed Muoio and her other county allies to the Ewing Twp. Municipal Building to formalize their support.
The endorsements give Watson Coleman a key coalition of power players as she attempts to stare down Middlesex County's state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) in the CD12 Democratic Primary.
"Each has their own single vote and influence," said a Mercer Democratic Party insider. "With that kind of support and a proper campaign the committee people will get Bonnie 60% plus one. A primary is a different world."
Watson Coleman wants to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12).
Sources tell PolitickerNJ that Greenstein is in the process of putting the Middlesex County Democratic Party on lock down for her own congressional candidacy as Middlesex prepares to go to war with Mercer.
Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-17) of Somerset also wants the seat.
Making a case for Watson Coleman's advantage, a Democratic Party operative noted that while Middlesex produces the most overall voters, Mercer dominates in Democratic Primaries.
"Look at the last two primaries in the newly re-drawn 12th CD," the source urged. "A Mercer County united under one candidate is very difficult to beat in a 12th CD Democratic Primary."
2013 August primary – this is probably the best election to model because was a contested primary where there was a concerted effort to pull voters to the polls.
2013 Special D Primary for
Middlesex + Union
44.4% of the total Democratic vote in the 12th CD came from Mercer. Middlesex and Union together only out polled Mercer by 86 votes.
2010 was almost the same (not contested)
"43% of the total Democratic Vote came from Mercer County," said the source. "While Middlesex and Union out-polled Mercer in that primary by a little more than 1,000 votes, remember that more than 75% of the Union County Democratic vote is from Plainfield in which an AA candidate will do very well whether they have the line or not. Also remember that the biggest chuck of Democratic voters in Somerset county comes from the Franklin Twp which also has a very high percentage of AA voters in a Democratic Primary. Also, remember that East Windsor is the only town in Mercer in Linda’s current LD."
PolitickerNJ pointed out that Holt's base is Mercer, and that Greenstein will have Middlesex more engaged than in the congressman's primaries.
"Good point," said the source, "however, even in the Presidential primary of 08, Mercer and Middlesex had almost the exact same number of Democratic voters in the Obama Clinton primary. (35,683 for Mercer to 35,773) Which then the race goes to the Democratic voters in Union and Somerset where the majority of primary voters are African American. Obama beat Clinton in Union County in the Democratic primary by almost 2,000 votes. I don’t have it my municipality, but my guess is that he beat Hillary by a good chunk in Plainfield."
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