Trial balloon: Lisa Jackson for Governor?

Add another name to the list of potential Democratic candidates for Governor in 2013: Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  There is some talk among a tiny group of Democrats that Jackson might make a formidable challenger to Gov. Christopher Christie.  Jackson will address the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce at their annual dinner in Washington, D.C. tomorrow night –that may or may not create some buzz within the political community. 

The 47-year-old East Windsor resident was well-liked by legislators when she served as state Environmental Protection Commissioner, and her nomination as Gov. Jon Corzine’s Chief of Staff was popular among Democrats.  She was only on the job a few days when President-elect Barack Obama nominated her to serve in his cabinet.

Jackson’s future as a gubernatorial candidate will be tied to the political success of the White House.  If Obama loses re-election, Jackson will have worked for a one-term governor and a one-term president – and that won’t help her with the newly-centrist New Jersey Democratic Party.  But if Obama wins New Jersey and the nation in 2012 and Jackson decides she wants to run, she could emerge as a very real contender. 

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, widely viewed as the presumptive favorite for the 2013 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, must still get through his 2010 campaign for a second term as mayor.  He won 75% of the vote four years ago, and there is a real fear among Booker strategists that the bar for his performance in the upcoming election might be set too high.  So far, Booker has refused to comment on his statewide ambitions.  His opponent, former Judge Clifford Minor, is scheduled to formally announce his candidacy today.

One more thing: no doubt Jackson made the right move getting out of Trenton.  Corzine still would have lost and it would have been on her watch. 

"This meeting is entirely off the record. Until somebody leaks it."
—Michael Kempner, addressing a roomful of Democratic powerbrokers organizng for Hillary Clinton