The chairman of the state Democratic party, Assemblyman John Wisniewski of Sayreville, who had been considering a run for governor next year against Gov. Christie, announced this afternoon that he's not getting in the race.
That means our first announcement about the Democratic field is actually a NON-announcement, which is interesting. Wisniewski had been considered part of a pack of second-tier potential contenders, which also includes Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex), former governor/Sen. Richard Cody (D., Essex/Morris), Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D., Camden) and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester).
The first-tier of contenders belongs to one man alone: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, whom most Democrats believe will "clear the field"...if he runs.
Did Wisniewski get out because he thinks/knows Booker is in? Again, he's the party chairman -- he might know such things.
Booker told me on Thursday that he's "deliberating" and will have announcement by Christmas. But he is getting a ton of attention this week for living on the budget of a food-stamp recipient, and he is in the middle of a media blitz: CNN's "Piers Morgan" last night, the "Today" show this morning, "The Daily Show" next Wednesday and, most intriguingly, "Face The Nation" tomorrow.
On Piers Morgan (below), he noted a recent poll pitting him against Christie, in which the governor got just 53 percent of voters. And he cited issues -- women's rights, abortion, education privatization, environmental policy -- that he disagrees with the governor on.
"I think he's vulnerable," Booker said.
Here's the full text of Wisniewski's announcement:
“I am announcing today that I will not seek the 2013 Democratic nomination for New Jersey Governor. The decision has not been an easy one, but after much discussion with supporters, friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that it is not the right time for me to pursue a statewide campaign for full-time public office, and that my obligations to my family and business should take precedence. I will, however, seek to remain in public office by seeking re-election to the New Jersey General Assembly, so that I can continue the fight on behalf of New Jersey's middle class families and in support of issues I consider important to the future of our state.