Political junkies hoping to revel in a war between two big African American churches - one in North and one in Central Jersey - over a lieutenant governor prospect named Randal Pinkett will be disappointed to learn that the pastors of those respective flocks in fact agree on Pinkett's merits, and would both heartily support him for the job in the event Gov. Jon Corzine selects him.
Pinkett attends the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, so it's no newsflash that the Rev. Pastor DeForest "Buster" Soaries, a longtime Republican turned independent in the Obama era, likes him as a match for the governor.
But powerful Democratic leader and fundraiser Rev. Pastor Reginald Jackson of St. Matthew A.M.E. Church in Orange also likes Pinkett, indeed knows him well, and would enthusiastically support him if Corzine chooses him.
"He would be a very formidable candidate," said Jackson. "He has no elected experience but he's been involved in public life. I do think that he'd be a breath of fresh air. He's bright and affable and articulate and is always abreast of state issues."
Jackson on several occasions rode the train from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. with Pinkett and always found the reality television star/businessman to be good company.
In a conversation with Corzine's inner circle, when Pinkett's name came up as a prospective candidate for lieutenant governor, Jackson immediately said he thought he would be an "excellent choice."
"The people in government who are resistant to Randal need to get over it," said the pastor, when told of some initial grimaces among the Essex County political classes. "I'm hopeful the governor will pick someone outside the political realm. We see that New York has done very well with Mayor Bloomberg."
Reminded of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's flameout last year after arriving on the scene as an unknown shining light, Jackson said, "Ah, but she was an elected official, which Randal is not. Randal comes from the private sector."
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