A Tale of Two Resorts

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

FYI – Don’t expect a ton of news from the New Jersey political scene this week, Save Jerseyans, other than good ‘ole Frank Pallone’s fun upset win over the Pelosi Democrat caucus faction down in D.C.

One week out from the Thanksgiving holiday, the N.J. solar system is centered on two gatherings of pilgrims (and plenty of turkeys) in two legendary resorts situated over 1,200 miles apart: Atlantic City, New Jersey and Boca Raton, Florida.

You don’t need a primer on A.C.’s many problems, but for three days at least, approximately 1,500 municipal officials, professionals, lobbyists, politicians and other assorted public sector types have descended upon the distressed Boardwalk Empire for the 99th annual New Jersey League of Municipalities conference.

It’s a Democrat-dominated affair. Save for a Wednesday evening Borgata reception hosted by potential gubernatorial candidate Asm. Jon Bramnick and attended by a few other potential primary rivals (e.g. Kim Guadagno and Holly Schepisi), the official GOP presence is extremely limited, and the center of gravity at the end of the Christie years is clearly moving back towards the Democrat camp. Everyone is scrambling to attend (and get noticed) at receptions hosted by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. All the same, it’s very visible evidence that the battle for Drumthwacket in 2017 (or sooner?) is already well underway. 

Meanwhile, that 2017 question mark is getting sorted out down in Boca. After giving the House freshman a pep talk, Gov. Chris Christie is hosting an annual gathering of his own, under the RGA umbrella, that’s scheduled to run through the end of the week and expected to be attended by many of his 2014 stars (Larry Hogan of Maryland, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, Rick Snyder of Michigan and, of course, Rick Scott of Florida) as well as possible 2016 rivals like Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio and Mike Pence of Indiana.

No big decisions/announcements are expect but you can bet that some high level and potentially consequential off-the-record conversations will take place under courtyard palm trees and dim hotel bar lights.