Winners and Losers: First Week of 2013

WINNERS 

Chris Christie

In a gubernatorial election year in a Blue State, the GOP governor received a prime chance to put last year’s embrace of national Republicans behind him (again). Christie earned big headlines as he raged against U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to put the kibosh on a Sandy relief vote earlier this week. But the funding is still only coming in drubs and drabs, as the House passed just $9 billion of what Tri-state representatives thought would be $60.4 billion.

Frank Pallone

The 6th District Congressman was first out of the gate criticizing the Republican decision not to hold a vote on Hurricane Sandy funding, aided by the argument of already having vanquished the Tea Party wing of the GOP (twice).

Frank LoBiondo

Recognizing the need for outrage, the 2nd District Republican Congressman got into a scrap with Boehner on his way to getting a commitment for Hurricane Sandy funding.

Peter Barnes III

The 18th District Assemblyman will have the support of the main power players as he pursues a run for the senate seat currently occupied by gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono.

Troy Stevenson

The new CEO of Garden State Equality will succeed Steven Goldstein, who is en route to Rutgers University.

Mark Matzen

Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s political consultant will continue in that capacity as the mayor explores a likely 2014 U.S. Senate bid.

LOSERS

The NJ Democratic Party

The “Anybody but Barbara” Campaign continues into the New Year, as party bigwigs led by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) scour the landscape for an alternative to declared gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) and elongate the story lines of would -be party prospects whom many believe will simply delay the process, bottle campaign cash, and ultimately decide not to run. On one level, Buono gains by being the only serious Democrat in the gubernatorial contest. But as long as the party continues to push the line that it needs another candidate and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) and former Gov. Dick Codey dangle their names, the Buono candidacy risks developing a temporary aura. What emerged this week after a conversation among county party chairs with State Party Chairman John Wisniewski was a clearer sense of regional division. Some southern Democrats believe Sweeney would help them down-ballot. Northern Party chairs feel confident with either Pascrell or Codey. But Buono has not convinced the majority of party leaders that her candidacy “clears the field,” as many believed would have been the case had Newark Mayor Cory Booker run for governor. 

"Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil."
—U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)