It was an interesting weekend in the 38th district, where Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero picked a State Senate candidate that he was initially reluctant to go with. Two-term Assemblyman Robert Gordon is hardly a party hack: back in 1996, the ex-Fair Lawn Mayor refused to abide by party’s decision to back then-Bergen County Surrogate Steven Rothman for an open congressional seat and challenged him in the Democratic primary. Since going to the Assembly in 2003 — he replaced Matt Ahearn, who left the Democratic Caucus to join the Green Party after a fight with local Dems — Gordon has been viewed as an independent reformer, although he never publicly commented on Coniglio’s ethics woes.
But Ferriero, some say, was nervous that the Coniglio scandal could cost Democrats the seat. His polling showed Gordon to be stronger than his first choice, Paramus Mayor James Tedesco, and Gordon, it turns out, had done his homework. When it came time to mount an insider campaign, he did quite well.