NJ-Sen: Rothman Bluffs Bergen Boss to Keep Andrews out of Senate

by: Scott in NJ

Wed Apr 02, 2008 at 15:40

(This was a weird fight. - promoted by Matt Stoller)

New Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews's strategy to defeat incumbent US Senator Frank Lautenberg in the Democratic primary is simple.  First, he must carry carry massive pluralities in South Jersey, where he has both machine support and very high popularity.  Second, he must garner endorsements, and thus favorable ballot position, from at least two of the large, Democratic-voting counties in North Jersey: Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Middlesex and Union.

When he publicly announced his intention to run for Senate yesterday, Andrews figured he had at least one of these endorsements, namely Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero, in the bag. But before Ferriero could announce his support for Andrews, Bergen County Congressman Steven Rothman (NJ-09) answered Ferriero's small bet on Andrews with a big raise. Rothman, who has made no secret of his own desire to eventually sit in Lautenberg's Senate seat, reportedly threatened to run for re-election to his own House seat off of the county line and alongside Lautenberg and a full slate of County Democratic Committee candidates recruited by progressive State Senator Loretta Weinberg.

Rothman's aggressive move presents Ferriero with a dilemma. Ferriero can cautiously preserve his political power and patronage machine by folding to Rothman.  By giving his line to Lautenberg and Rothman, Ferriero would raise a very high hurdle in front of any challengers seeking to unseat his county committee members and freeholders. However, should Ferriero call Rothman's raise, he will provoke a nine-week civil war in the Bergen County party that he may not survive.

Needless to say, Ferriero did not follow through with an Andrews endorsement on Tuesday, and this afternoon, sources close to the Bergen boss are telling New Jersey media that Ferriero will endorse Lautenberg. As of Wednesday afternoon, none of Andrews's other promised North Jersey endorsements have panned out.  While Andrews hasn't decided whether or not to challenge Lautenberg yet, Rothman's deftly timed threat has made an Andrews run a lot less likely than it was just 24 hours ago.

You can read more about this story and the New Jersey US Senate race at Blue Jersey.

Scott in NJ :: NJ-Sen: Rothman Bluffs Bergen Boss to Keep Andrews out of Senate

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this really was weird (0.00 / 0)
and i say that as a new yorker, where things are often rather weird. there's a great piece about the history of the players and what appears to have transpired in the past 48 hours here.

It's time:the albany project.

It's going to get weirder (0.00 / 0)
Politics in Bergen County is elementary compared to the messes that are Essex and Hudson.  In Bergen, there is Ferriero with his patronage machine and county party and there is the Real Bergen Democrats, a progressive, reform-minded movement led by liberal lion Loretta Weinberg. Individual people may move around but overall the situation there is pretty stable. Ferriero is cautious by nature, corrupt, and very predictable.

And just as I say that a powerful Bergen County State Senator endorses Andrews. Senator Paul Sarlo doesn't have the same ability to challenge Ferriero as Rothman does, since (1) he isn't on the ballot this year and (2) he can't credibly associate with the Real Bergen Dems (Weinberg's progresive faction) since he's just as sleazy and corrupt as Ferriero. So I doubt Sarlo's move will affect Ferriero's decision.

[ Parent ]
Correct on all counts (0.00 / 0)
Except Sarlo's endorsement signals that while Ferriero may have been forced to publicly back Lautenberg, he is clearly working behind-the-scenes for Andrews.  

Sarlo does not make a move like this without Ferriero's ok.  

[ Parent ]
Ferriero's a paper tiger (0.00 / 0)
Adubato's a different story.  If he's firmly behind Andrews, Andrews may get the Essex line, even though Booker has come out for Lautenberg.  However, if something gets worked out and Lautenberg gets both the Essex and Bergen lines, plus the Hudson line (which he already has), it's going to be virtually impossible for Andrews to win.

[ Parent ]
... (0.00 / 0)
Lautenberg's not guaranteed anything in Hudson yet. Stack is still expected to go with Andrews.

In Essex, Booker is but one player. DiVincenzo will likely go with Adubato, while Codey and Thigpen will stick with Frank.   The line is more likely to go the way of Joe D. and Adubato, however. Let's see.  

It will be tough for Frank if Andrews gets either Essex or Hudson.    

[ Parent ]
Don't count your chickens. (0.00 / 0)
Now we need someone to intervene with Essex County's bosses... http://politickernj.com/editor...

Steve Adubato's a lot harder to push around than Ferriero (0.00 / 0)
Adubato's a boss, but he's well-liked by his community and well-respected in New Jersey's political community. To the best of my knowledge, he isn't anywhere close to Ferriero on the sleaze scale. Ferriero's also a total wuss, while Adubato is more than willing to get involved in a knife fight.

[ Parent ]
Juan Melli says Andrews is running (0.00 / 0)
Reportedly he phoned Lautenberg to tell him.

I would say Lautenberg is definitely more liberal, but we'll see how the race plays out.  

As the first paragraph above hints, if you get your news from the New York Times you may have a biased view of New Jersey politics.  The Times seems to have all northern NJ sources, but the South Jersey Democrats have been growing in numbers and influence over the last decade.  

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


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