Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breakfast With Republicans

The other morning I ventured where few Democrats have gone before: To a post-Election Day Republican breakfast in Hunterdon County.

With Senator Leonard Lance’s Congressional win a mere 48 hours old, the buzzards have already started circling around his soon to vacated Senate seat. The first bird to buzz his intentions to run: Assemblyman Mike Doherty. Doherty arrived early to the gathering, worked the room, shaking hands, flashing his grin, and being very open about his intentions. “He will definitely be running in the June [2009] State Senate primary, whether he gets chosen by the County Committee members or not,” declared Ed Smith, the Assemblyman’s Chief of Staff.

Doherty has flirted before with running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg, but got out early. Had he run for US Senate, that would have been a debacle for him. Doherty is a West Point grad, and has been given high marks by National Rifle Association, New Jersey Right to Life and several other conservative leaning groups. He is so right-wing, he makes Reagan look like Karl Marx. He does not believe that global warming exists, by the way.

His most likely opponent for Lance’s Senate seat: Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow. Ms. Karrow was insistent on the fact that she has not decided as of yet, and wanted to not steal Senator’s Lance’s victory thunder. A big gamble for both Doherty and Karrow: they both have to give up their Assembly seats to run for Senator.

So, Lance’s win has started an avalanche of Republican candidates in wait and see mode: Hunterdon Freeholders Erik Peterson, Matt Holt, Ron Sworen, along with Warren Freeholder John DeMaio and a menagerie of mayors might get in to the Assembly race, should both Karrow and Doherty run. And then, of course, that move would trigger an equally crowded field for the open freeholder spots, perhaps in both Hunterdon and Warren.

When I arrived at the Republican fest, ---I got questions like “Are you changing parties?” “What are you doing here?” It was all very amusing, and I am confident enough in my Democratic Party membership, that I can be in a room of Rs, and not catch anything. And while everyone was celebrating the victory of Senator Lance, not one mention of Barack Obama or John McCain. Go figure.

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