It's almost a new election year. 2013 will be a very big political year.
Gov. Chris Christie (although he won't yet say), I guarantee that he will be running for re-election.
He has been a great governor through incredibly difficult times. Multiple hurricanes, the super derecho and then the mother of all natural disasters, super storm Sandy, which at one point knocked out the electrical power of more than 7 million of 8.8 million New Jersey residents.
The New Jersey Democratic political establishment desperately wants Newark Mayor Cory Booker to run for governor.
As tempting as it may be, in the end, I think Booker will not take Christie on. As I file this week's column, Gov. Christie's job approval is 67 percent in one poll and 77 percent approval in another.
Clearly, his terrific job in managing the impossible fallout from Sandy is a big part of this recent approval bump, but Christie has stayed above 50 percent for three years, which is very hard for a Republican to do in Dark Blue New Jersey, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a wide margin.
Also, a majority of independent voters lean Democratic in New Jersey, always giving a quality Democratic nominee a big advantage.
Because of last year's redistricting, the entire New Jersey Legislature is up for re-election at the same time after just two years.
State Sen. Jim Whelan remains the one to beat on the Democratic side for District 2. I don't expect the Atlantic County Republican Party to take a dive, but don't expect a high-quality candidate.
Former Assemblyman Vince Polistina gave Whelan everything he had and risked a nearly 100 percent safe Assembly seat in the process last year.
Assemblyman John Amodeo and Chris Brown will not take on this political kamikaze mission. These two have (what should be) two of the safest seats in the New Jersey Legislature.
However, do not sell short that Column B recently elected a freeholder at large in Atlantic County. The cold hard facts are that a human being didn't win that seat, Column B did. A potted plant running in Column B would have won Nov. 6.
The Pleasantville voter turnout was extraordinary, and the Atlantic City voter turnout was respectable in the recent past general election. Tell me the turnout in Atlantic City and Pleasantville on Tuesday, Nov, 5, 2013 and we'll readily know who will win the two Assembly seats.
Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford and Councilman at Large George Tibbitt will both be running for re-election in Atlantic City. This will be a big help to whomever the Democrats nominate for the two Assembly seats and county races
We may see a larger than usual Atlantic City voter turnout with all of the controversy between Christie and Langford. This factor will benefit the Democrats electorally.
Still to be determined is whether or not Amodeo will leave the New Jersey Legislature and take a senior executive position with the South Jersey Transportation Authority. If so, look for former Assemblyman Vince Polistina to jump right back into the legislature.
It would be a great move for both men. Amodeo would have a new challenge in the executive branch, and Polistina is one of the most competent state legislators in the history of District 2.
In Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties, District 1 state Sen. Jeff Van Drew is a truly distinguished legislator. He continues to defy gravity and win in what would otherwise be a Republican district.
Van Drew has been as close to a nonpartisan legislator that you will find anywhere in New Jersey.
Republican David DeWeese ran a strong campaign against Van Drew two years ago. DeWeese has not in any way been implicated in the scandal that touched his former law partner, but it still hurts him politically. It's not fair. Life's not fair.
President George H.W. Bush had closed in on Bill Clinton in the final days of the 1992 campaign, and then his Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger was indicted.
This had nothing to do with President Bush, yet it stopped his re-election in its final tracks.
In fairness, DeWeese shouldn't be considered damaged political goods, but politics is a brutal sport, and he is affected by it.
If Van Drew wins re-election, I believe we will see the political stars finally align, and the often-whispered Congressman Frank LoBiondo vs. Van Drew campaign for all of the 2nd District political marbles will most likely occur in 2014. If not in 2014, then 2016 in a presidential election year, for sure.
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