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Posted at 5:18 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2012
Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. hinted at interest in running for higher state office and he conveyed frustration that Newark Mayor Cory Booker is taking too long decide whether he will run for governor in 2013 or Senate in 2014.
A few weeks ago, New Jersey Democrats forwarded around a curious story from The Bergen Record pushing the idea of a Pascrell gubernatorial run.
“We’ll see what other people have to say about that. I’ve got more on my plate than I can think of,” he said when asked about the idea of running against Republican Gov. Chris Christie. “There’s always been something intriguing about the position, always intriguing.”
At first glance, it would seem odd that Pascrell’s considering a gubernatorial bid.
He fought hard to hold onto his seat in a member-vs.-member primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Steven R. Rothman and has finally built up enough seniority to secure a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Commitee, which he touted in his 2012 campaign.
But for Pascrell, it could be be a no-lose proposition. The gubernatorial race will take place in 2013, an off-year for Congressional elections. If he loses, he can go right back to his safe seat in the House and run for re-election in 2014.
Both Christie and Pascrell are tough guys who personify New Jersey. A Christie vs. Pascrell general election campaign could be bare-knuckled and brutal.
As for the story consuming New Jersey politics, Pascrell weighed in on Booker’s deliberations and prodded the Democratic mayor to make a decision.
“Senate race? What Senate race?” he joked when asked about Booker. “What is he going to run for next? First he was running for governor …”
“I get along with Booker, but he’s got to make up his mind. He can’t wait to see who’s in the race, who’s not in the race, who’s the opposition, how much it’s gonna cost him? He should have thought about that four months ago.”