The needler in the haystack.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Jerry Green and CD12: Between a rock and a hard place?

Is Senator Lesniak putting the Assemblyman between a rock and a hard place?

Plainfield's Democratic chair Assemblyman Jerry Green is finding himself between a rock and a hard place in the continuing drama of which candidate to endorse for the seat of departing Congressman Rush Holt.

After his first response last week to the news, in which he indicated he himself might be interested in the seat, Green has stayed out of the spotlight -- even as the Middlesex, Mercer and Somerset county segments of the district have stepped up to endorse their favorites.

Green's silence and the possibility now that he may even move the Union County Dems convention to March 12 (a week later than earlier reported) are putting the focus on him.

And this morning, in a story on PolitickerNJ, comes word that State Sen. Ray Lesniak is weighing in on the process (see story here). Lesniak, whom some say began to covet the Union County Dem chairmanship when he lost out on the state chair designation, will have nothing to do with Mercer County Assemblyman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Seems there is bad blood there from last year's struggle over the state chair seat -- with Watson Coleman backing Dem gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono on her choice. Traditionally, the candidate picks the chair and everyone lines up behind the choice. But last year was complicated by the fact that though the big cats were chary of taking on Christie and were happy to let Buono be a sacrificial lamb, they certainly didn't want her acting like she was entitled to the perks of a 'real' candidate. Hence the spat with Lesniak (and others).

The PolitickerNJ story quotes Lesniak as saying 'it's Jerry Green's decision'.

That may well be true, but those who have observed Union County politics for any length of time know that assertions of independence will face consequences. And the new election of county committee members (and a chairperson) is already on the horizon.

Meanwhile, Plainfield mayor Adrian Mapp's decision to endorse Watson Coleman in the contest leaves him a winner regardless of the outcome. If Watson Coleman gets the nod and succeeds Holt, Plainfield will have a friend in Congress. If she doesn't, she will still be a power in the Assembly as head of an important committee -- and will still be a friend to Plainfield.

The difference between the costs to Green and to Mapp reminds me of the old story about having ham and eggs for breakfast: the contributions of the hen and the porker are not of the same sort.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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