Booker vs. Lonegan
Aug 18, 2013 | 3083 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

All right, tell the truth.

Did you really vote for Cory Booker in the recent special Democratic primary to fill the unexpired term of the late great U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg?

Bragging rights to winner, so if you voted for one of the other Democratic hopefuls, you can still lie.

If you’re a Republican, admitting you voted for either of the two Republican candidates here in Christiecrat land is a lot less easy, since the winner, Steve Lonegan, and his challenger, were both of a Tea Party variety, a breed that does not usually do well in New Jersey where even Republicans tend to be moderate, and many are likely to stay home when the serious voting starts in the October special election. They will have to choose between voting for Democrat Booker (Heaven forbid) or a Republican with views some see as too extreme for the state.

If you’re a Democratic public official these days and don’t have a picture of yourself with Booker, you’re not in fashion. Everybody who is anybody has a picture posted on social media; and some even have multiple photos of before, during and after a hug.

Booker, of course, is one of the rising stars in New Jersey politics, along with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and anyone who admits to having voted for anyone else won’t be getting many invitations to private political parties in the future when Booker becomes senator.

Two years is a long time in politics

Meanwhile, most of Hudson County is either living in the aftermath of the Jersey City municipal election or anticipating the dog fight in Hoboken in November.

Anyone who thinks Gov. Christopher Christie is going to lose to State Sen. Barbara Buono obviously also voted for someone other than Booker, and won’t be admitting it after the November election.

Those living in the aftermath of the Fulop victory in Jersey City may be cringing a little over their prospects for the future – such as Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, whose upcoming reelection could be his last since the Fulop camp is peeved at him for his support of Jerramiah Healy. But in a county where a month is a lifetime, two years is far too long to predict, and most people are pondering the fate of O’Donnell’s ally, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, who Fulop people are seeking to dump from office next spring. Even that is a long time away, especially when there is a dearth of qualified candidates.

Dublin’s not afraid

Jersey City Freeholder Jeff Dublin, however, is one Healy supporter, who is not looking over his shoulder and said he is running for reelection next year.

He believes that he will survive especially with the support of State Senator Sandra Cunningham and other powerful political figures to which he aligned. A personal friend of Freeholder Bill O’Dea, who was a Fulop supporter, Dublin never hid his support for Healy – and so never betrayed any promises as was the case with other politicians around the county who said they would stay out of the race, but backed Healy.

O’Dea, of course, is seen as getting Fulop’s support for a run at the seat of county executive in 2015. There is one small problem: the current occupant, Tom DeGise, isn’t ready to give the seat up. Plus, it is possible that Cunningham might make a run for the seat as well. Since O’Dea and Cunningham have a close alliance, O’Dea might have to put off his plans or look to some other seat – perhaps the House of Representatives?

Soares for freeholder?

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, meanwhile, will likely get support of Fulop for her reelection. Some people believe that she is unbeatable. But Assemblyman Ruben Ramos’s supporters aren’t among them, and the recent flood of money into his campaign proves that there are willing investors who believe Zimmer can be beaten.

But even those that believe Zimmer will win aren’t sure about her council candidates; some believe Councilman David Mello is vulnerable. But some others in the Zimmer camp are a little distrustful of Councilman Ravi Bhalla, saying that his ambitions for higher office put control of the City Council at risk, and if he runs and wins for some other office, Zimmer will face a similar situation as she does currently with a divided council.

While Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano can breathe a sigh of relief in that Bhala will not likely run for freeholder next spring, Romano many have former Councilman Tony Soares to contend with. Some believe that with the reconfigured freeholder districts, Soares may have additional strength in Hoboken and in downtown Jersey City. – Al Sullivan

Al Sullivan may be reached at

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