Cross-Posted from ShapTalk.com:
In March 2003, at the invitation of then-Councilman Michael Wildes (D-Englewood), Senator Hillary Clinton attended and spoke at a free reception that was open to the public at the Radisson Hotel in Englewood. Councilman Wildes also organized a private reception before the event that netted approximately $50,000 for the Senator from New York. Given the contentious Bergen County primary between State Senator Loretta Weinberg and Mayor Wildes and their respective Assembly slates in the 37th District, will Senator Clinton repay the previous support of Mr. Wildes with a public boost to Wildes and his team during the Primary campaign?
State Senator Loretta Weinberg, a leader in the movement to reform politics in New Jersey and also an icon for women who seek elected office, is running off-line in the Democratic Primary for re-election to the State Senate, along with Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle. Mayor Wildes, backed by powerful Bergen County Chairman Joe Ferriero, is running on the regular Democratic line for State Senate against Ms. Weinberg, along with current Hackensack Police Chief and former Assemblyman Charles "Ken" Zisa as well as Cid Wilson, the Director of Equity Research at Kevin Dann & Partners LLC.
Since first being elected to the United States Senate, Mrs. Clinton has made a concerted effort to move to the right and embrace causes that will make her more electable in a general election. These same newly found positions have caused erosion in her support in the progressive community. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Mrs. Clinton has the encouragement of much of the Democratic Party establishment including Governor Corzine and many top presidential fundraisers.
Should Mrs. Clinton enter the fray in Bergen County on the side of the Wildes team, she is sure to further enrage progressives and reform-minded citizens who have disdain for the political machinations emanating from the Bergen County Democratic Party. Since progressives make up a large chunk of Democratic Primary voters in New Jersey, a Clinton stump speech for the Wildes team may spell defeat for her in the New Jersey Primary. On the other hand, a Clinton visit would likely make the difference in a close primary and cause the Wildes slate to be elected, which would demonstrate Mrs. Clinton’s political firepower in New Jersey. If Mrs. Clinton were to campaign for the Weinberg team, she would risk the support of the Bergen County political machine and like-minded politicians and their supporters in the State of New Jersey, but would most likely enable the Weinberg team to triumph in June. Clinton then would be able to woo back some of the progressive community in New Jersey and in other parts of the country.
Of course, Mrs. Clinton is no stranger to divisive politics. Should the Senator from New York see her base of insider political support falter in New Jersey, a visit on behalf of the Wildes ticket before the Primary would not be far-fetched. On the other hand, should Senators Obama and Edwards continue to be the fan favorites of the progressive community and either take a lead in New Jersey, a late show of support for the Weinberg ticket in the high-profile race in Bergen County may help persuade last-minute progressive voters to support Mrs. Clinton. In the final analysis, it may be suggested that Senator Clinton stay out of Bergen County until after the Primary election. She loses no matter what ticket she would endorse and her time would be better spent elsewhere.