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Monday, September 21, 2009

Plainfield event for Corzine shows cause for concern

Host Gerry Harvey welcomes Gov. Corzine and Asm Green.

Gov. Jon Corzine joined about 150 supporters at the Plainfield home of Gerry Harvey Sunday afternoon. The event displayed both his platform and the cause for concern over his prospects.

Under a tent in the host's sun-dappled back yard, Corzine made the rounds, speaking to each person who attended, pausing occasionally for a photo with a guest (cellphone, of course!).

Harvey is to be congratulated for pulling off a classy event, the first 'official' Plainfield campaign event for Corzine, on relatively short notice (I got an email invite on August 28). Word has it that Harvey, who heads a Newark nonprofit, took on the assignment when several Essex County Democrats asked why nothing had been done in Plainfield to date.

That being said, the event unwittingly highlighted the challenges Corzine faces in his re-election bid.

As Corzine himself joked during his stump speech, 'I know I put life and limb in danger bringing up health care in Plainfield', and he did indeed.

Among the first to welcome the Governor were Muhlenberg activists, including Nancy Piwowar and the Revs. Jim and Sarah Colvin. Piwowar forthrightly told Corzine she thought an injustice had been done in the closing of Muhlenberg, and that health services delivery in Plainfield and the surrounding communities suffered as a result.

Corzine responded that he 'kept politics out of decisions regarding hospitals' and that (Commissioner) Heather Howard had researched everything carefully in making the final decision. (Piwowar and others point out that Muhlenberg did not meet the conditions for closure outlined in the state's own study of the issue, obviating the Governor's explanation.)

That was perhaps the rockiest moment of the Governor's afternoon.

Gov. Jon Corzine delivers his stump speech at Sunday's event.

Corzine made it clear in his remarks later that he understands some voters are angry with him, but pressed his point that this election is 'not about Jon Corzine...but about the direction in which you want the state of New Jersey to go'. (My guess is that the Muhlenberg question may cost the Governor 3,000 or more votes from Plainfield and the other affected communities.)

Once my eyes became accustomed to the shade under the tent, I tried to assess who was at the event. There were a lot of folks who just did not look familiar.

But among those who did, it seemed there were way more New Democrats and their friends than members of the Democratic City Committee, despite the fact that Chairperson Jerry Green had included invitations to the event in a mailing to committee members announcing the September 11 meeting and reminded everyone again AT the committee meeting.

Not only was the Regular Dem organization slimly represented, only two of seven Council members attended -- Council President Rashid Burney and Councilor Adrian Mapp. I did not spot Mayor Robinson-Briggs or any members of her Administration while I was there (I did not stay until the 6 PM ending time).

(Aside: Councilor Storch told me he was not there because he was NOT invited, and further that Committee Chair Green does not send him notices of PDCC committee meetings -- of which Storch, as with all elected officials is an ex-officio member -- or invitations to events such as party fundraisers. In my humble opinion, Green does his reputation and stature as a leader no good with such pettiness; it's time to move on and rally everyone possible.)

So, then. Who were all the other folks?

That became clear as Harvey thanked those who had come out, in particular Mildred Crump (president of Newark's City Council) and other Newark and Essex County Democrats; members of the board of Harvey's agency; and her Delta sorors.

Watching the applause and those who stood when called upon, it became clear that most of the group was NOT Plainfield Democrats.

And that underscores my concern over Corzine's prospects in the November general election.

If the very leadership team who should be his strongest local supporters chose not to attend Gov. Corzine's big Plainfield event, what does it bode for November?

The big worry, as Ledger columnist Tom Moran (see here) and PolitickerNJ analyst Alan Steinberg (see here) point out, is if urban Democrats (whose heavily Democratic votes normally cancel scores of small-town Republicans') decide to sit out the November election.

The lovely event in Gerry Harvey's back yard did nothing to ease those fears in my mind.

-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

Dan, the mayor never showed, maybe she had another, more important event to attend. Yes, there were many Essex County heavyhitters (Sen. Nia Gill, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, Linden Councilman Armstead, Eliz. Councilwoman Pat Perkins-Auguste, and a lot more). Funny Green didn't stick around. He got no applause at all when Corzine mentioned him. I guess no one cares. The governor is a pleasant man, and well-meaning. I will vote for him. Christie's a pretty scary prospect. You're right, there were a lot more "New Dems" at the event than Jerry's tired old RDO people, although I did see some of the stalwarts. Corzine has to recognize that the New Dems are the ones who "work" at election time, NOT Jerry Green's do-nothing names on the committee. If Green can't energize his committee, he will look pretty lame. He made a mistake not putting Rebecca on as a vice-chair. She works HARD and TIRELESSLY for the Dems, knows the election process and GOTV in and out, has a lot of support and connections and Green knows it. Sucker.

Anonymous said...

Why would any Democrat, new or old work to re-elect any of these guys when they continue to take them for granted?

It doesn't make sense to me. You say you want progress, yet the same tired candidates keep getting your vote.

Statistically, the challenger represents at least a 50%-50% chance of progress.

Anonymous said...

I'm not voting for Corzine and can't wait to see him go. He is part of the problem no matter how pleasant or well-meaning he may or may not be. I can't think of one democrat from the entire State who deserves to be re-elected. People should start sending a message and that message should start with not re-electing the Governor. Are people so obsessed with party labels that you are willing to vote for a really bad democrat? If so, you get what you deserve.

cory storch said...

A correction to your blog - I said that I do not get invited to Assemblyman Greens fundraisers and that I was not invited to the recent open house at the Assemblyman's campaign headquarters until the day before the event (as I did not know, I made other plans out of town). I did not state that I am not invited to the PDCC meetings. In fact I do receive invitations and I do attend.

Cory Storch

Dan said...

To the anonymous commenter who criticized Rebecca: If you want to submit a comment and sign your real name, I will consider publishing it.

Fair's fair.

Bo Vastine said...

I am not sure who would be in a position to say anything negative about Rebecca...but I agree with Dan, come forward and make your voice heard.

Perhaps Rebecca's tireless commitment, connection to the community and ability prevent the person from stating their name. After all is said and done…I am thankful that Jerry cut her out of his leadership team (along with the stunt he pulled on all of the New Dems.)…now she can’t or won’t help him.

Having said can anyone vote for Corzine, Stender and Green? Corzine has done nothing with the exception of closing down Muhlenberg and ending the Abbott funding...and Jerry was the deciding vote on both. I can't even mention Stender because she is absent in all things concerning the 22nd.

Bo Vastine

Rob said...

I am glad to see Jonny Boy having to beg for votes...and only Jerry Green could manage to trip on such an easy play.
--- Imagined "EASY" conversation - " Hi, yes, it's me Jerry. We have Governor Corzine coming into town this weekend for a very nice political photo opp. I want you to be there so we can show him how great Plainfield is and how much we support him because this could really benefit Plainfield."
BUT -- Let me point out, Corzine does have to go. He had a chance to do something with this state and when he stood up to Jerry and the boys on the first day and got his nose smacked with a newspaper he went running back to wipe his tears instead of standing up for the people of this state. He deserves to go and after him..Jerry and his good ole boy network of filthy self serving politicians. Jerry and his Cheshire Cat Sharon rolled over like dogs in heat when the hospital issue came up and never "tried" ( HA-HA ) to do anything until it was too late. The group of them are pathetic. Republicans in NJ are of the same this is not a Dem. VS. Rep. issue but Christie should win just to give the Trenton power bosses a bit of a pause. He will probably need to go after one term also much like Corzine.

Anonymous said...

Dan, about your comment on someone who anonymously criticized me--my mother will never sign her name!