WINNERS and LOSERS: Week of The Decision, Part II

WINNERS

Barbara Buono

State Sen. Dick Codey’s (D-27) announcement that he won’t run for governor removed a potential obstacle from the senator’s path in her pursuit of the Democratic nomination for governor.

Joe Cryan

The Union County assemblyman went on his own timeline, not Codey’s, when he issued his public endorsement for Buono at the beginning of the week. Less than a week later, Codey crumbled out of the contest.

Bob Menendez

The New Jersey senator assumed the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week in time to take on the Benghazi hearings. As for the other Menendez headlines, only time will tell on the veracity of those unsubstantiated allegations.

Chris Christie

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will host a fundraiser next month for the governor’s re-election campaign, Mike DuHaime confirmed Thursday. For Democrats, it’s heartbreaking evidence of Christie’s nationwide celebrity translating into dollars.

Shavar Jeffries

The former assistant attorney general and counsel for the attorney general showed strong fundraising numbers – enough to get the attention of South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka, who unsuccessfully urged Jeffries to get out of the mayor’s race.

LOSERS

Dick Codey

For six weeks, in hapless imitation of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the former governor suckled public speculation about his future plans before finally shutting down what had become a very tired circus show, a la Zampano in “La Strada.” That along the way he enabled arch-enemy George Norcross to assume the moral upper hand made even Codey’s allies cringe with embarrassment.   

John McKeon

Codey’s announcement to run again for his LD27 Senate seat continues to keep the talented assemblyman back-benched in the lower house. McKeon’s in his early fifties now. If he ever makes it to the Senate, he’ll be a decidedly grayer fixture at this rate.

Nia Gill

Wobbling into her re-election campaign, the incumbent senator raised $9,530 in the last quarter ending Jan. 15, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission. Her opponent, Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Alexander, raised $75,000 in the same period of time.

Valerie Huttle

Veteran Palisades Park Democratic Party Chairman Mike Pollotta admits it’s been a long time since Palisades Park had representation in the Legislature, and he’s not happy about that fact. In Pollotta’s sites is the incumbent assemblywoman from Englewood, who could get a primary from Palisades Park Deputy Mayor Jason Kim.

Ras Baraka

Infuriated by Shavar Jeffries’ fundraising numbers, the Newark South Ward councilman made an unscheduled house call to the home of his rival in a ham-handed attempt to talk Jeffries out of the contest.

County Party Organizations

Those powerful party chairs we keep writing about aren’t powerful anymore. Overall fundraising by county party committees for last year is down more than 70 percent compared to 2002 and fundraising is at its lowest levels in at least a decade, according to an Election Law Enforcement Commission report. County parties raised $6.2 million and spent nearly $5.8 million in 2012, according to the report, which showed county parties raised $21.5 million and spent nearly $20 million in 2002. ELEC officials noted final totals for 2012 should be slightly higher since all counties have yet to complete all reporting.

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.