Winners and Losers: Post Charlotte Edition

WINNERS 

Cory Booker

Dinged over the platform committee controversy but the undisputed star of the New Jersey delegation, the mayor of Newark comes out of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) as the 2013 frontrunner for governor. The only downside is he may have created a sense of inevitability about his candidacy – bad news if he decides not to run against Gov. Chris Christie.

Mark Matzen

Booker’s political handler emerged from the convention as the respected mastermind of the Booker extravaganza.

Bob Menendez

Up for re-election, the U.S. Senator from Hudson County could be spied dancing the morning hours away Friday at a final bash thrown by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6), “finally,” in the words of one insider, demonstrating an ability to loosen up.

Jerry Healy

The Jersey City mayor secured the support of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) and Building Trades as he heads toward his 2013 showdown with downtown City Councilman Steve Fulop.

Phil Thigpen

Check out this American arc: the chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee attended his first Democratic Convention in 1964. At that historic event in Atlantic City, the Mississippi delegation showed up with African Americans banned from their ranks. This week, Thigpen helped nominate America’s first African American president for re-election.

Frank Pallone

As the players maneuvered openly in the atrium of the Renaissance, the veteran Congressman from Long Branch appeared to hit his stride as an operator angling for higher office, the U.S. Senate, in his case, and possibly as early as 2014. Or earlier. Pallone’s delegation speech mocking Christie’s tough guy delivery helped generate “if it’s not Cory, then maybe Frank” vibes.

Mark Alexander

The hip former statewide director of the 2008 Obama campaign seemed to be aggressively networking north, central and south. “He was all over the Renaissance Hotel,” in the words of one insider.

John Wisniewski

It can’t have been easy for Wiz, trying to create excitement for himself and ostensibly running for governor while getting blitzed by the Cory Booker bus. But the dignified Middlesex County assemblyman received good marks for trying to hold together a fractured group of delegates and running an enjoyable show at the Renaissance.

LOSERS

Rob Andrews

Always a player pre-2008, the 1st District Congressman appeared to fade into the gray background amid questions by a House Ethics Committee on how he spent $30,000 in campaign funds.

Steve Rothman

“No comment” was all the lame duck congressman could muster four years after he enjoyed a share of the Denver spotlight in nominating his Democratic Primary choice for the presidency of the United States.

Chris Christie

The state unemployment rate at 9.8% appears to have mobilized long demoralized and factionalized Democrats, who used the setting of the Renaissance Hotel in Charlotte to gear up for 2013, possibly behind Booker, the only Democrat in the state who has star power almost equal to the Republican governor. This doesn’t mean it’s over for Christie, by any means, or that Booker even runs in the end, but Republican hopes of a Peter Shapiro challenger are presently under siege. 

Al Gore

Nursing wounds over fights with the administration, according to news reports, the former vice president and 2000 presidential candidate stayed away from what was, almost by acclimation, a successful Democratic convention.  

Dick Codey

The former governor’s pre-convention forecast of Democrats in disarray didn’t quite materialize. Yes, it’s fractured, but the New Jersey delegation departed from Charlotte energized, and Booker stands to be, in the words of one source, the Democratic Party’s “great unifier.” This is a snapshot, and if Booker doesn’t run against Christie in the end, Codey – and state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18), too, who operated on the outside of the Charlotte epicenter – could be in a position in a few months of being able to say, “I told you so.”

Steve Fulop

As Democrats tried to project unity, the downtown Jersey City Councilman got into a firefight with the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO). Assemblyman Sean Connors (D-33) called Fulop a hypocrite for seeking Connors’s and the HCDO’s support for mayor, then denouncing that support as bossism and stoogism when Connors and the organization backed Healy for mayor.

Sonia Noel

The former clerk in the Jersey City Motor Vehicle Agency was sentenced to four years in state prison, ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution and permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.  Noel pleaded guilty on June 22 to second-degree conspiracy, a charge contained in a Dec. 5, 2011, state grand jury indictment.  She admitted that, on more than one occasion in 2008, she entered false information into the MVC database in connection with sales of New Jersey driver’s licenses to two people who did not have the required six points of identification.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato