Democrats in government are almost never transparent Save Jerseyans. Once they have your money to spend they do as much in secret as humanly possible. Now, Democrats in campaigns? Completely different story, one would think the two were not cut from the sale liberal cloth (they are). For those of you who have not heard, Carl Lewis is finally and forever off of the state senate ballot in LD8. As we have said hundreds of times, California-Carl does not meet the residency requirements for state senate in New Jersey. There is a possibility that he could run for Assembly (its only a 2 year requirement), but I find that to be unlikely. State government was never the goal for Lewis in the first place. He was promised more, and his eyes were aimed higher.
The end game for Carl Lewis and the Democrat overlords who plucked him out of California to come and run for state senate were never actually interested in him representing the people of the 8th legislative district. To the contrary, they wanted him there for as little time possible. Why? Well thats simple. As I said way back in May, the Democrats need a candidate with enough name recognition to stand up to New Jersey’s newest Congressman, Jon Runyan. They thought that putting one famous athlete against another, perhaps after a favorable round of congressional redistricting this year, could put another seat in the blue column and keep it there for years to come. Put simply, Lewis was simply using LD8 as a staging point for his congressional campaign, and nothing more. Had he somehow managed to win (which was unlikely anyway), he would have been in campaign mode for congress almost immediately, challenging Runyan in 2012.
Why the quick turnaround? Well thats simple too. 2012 is a presidential year and will likely see hight turnout among the holdout-democrats who still support President Obama in this state. The democrat machine in Burlington County saw this as a perfect storm. Put Lewis on the ballot in an “Obama year” to try and win a turnout game against the GOP. If they could elevate Lewis by hopping on the President’s back, they could theoretically pick up wins down ballot across the county (ignore the Ocean County part of NJ-3, it wouldn’t work there).
The problem with this tactic? Well for starters President Obama is not going to be inspiring nearly as many voters as the ones he managed to fool in 2008. Second, Jon Runyan has better name recognition than ever, and since he has been the subject of political attacks since the day he took office, he has remained in the news and fought off the Dems quite well. Third, Lewis’s name recognition, while not terrible, was not all that high. He was still a celebrity from decades ago. And finally, fourth, everyone knew this was the plan from the beginning, so the GOP is likely already cooking up a solid campaign to deal with whatever advantage the Democrats think they could gain from this move. That seat went back to the GOP in 2010 and they will not be giving it up again any time soon.
Lewis’s press conference is tomorrow at 11:00AM in Evesham, NJ at King’s Grant Park. Do I expect he will be announcing early for Congress? No not exactly. Expect Lewis to express disappointment in the courts ruling, and to be defiant until the end that he was in fact a resident, even though he wasn’t paying New Jersey taxes and lived and voted in California. Expect him to say that he intends to support the Democrat ticket in LD8 to the best of his ability and to say some really nice things about the two assembly candidates, who he today said he would not be knocking off of the ballot for himself.
Finally, expect him to say that he is keeping his options open for a political future. A failed future that no one needs to crystal ball to see.