In Today’s Observer

Jason Horowitz and I conclude that the most powerful person in city politics may well be a former ambassador to Belize named Carolyn Curiel. (Yes, she also heads the group that writes the Times’s local endorsements.

Jessica Bruder heads over to Newark to find that Cory Booker, Mr. Clean last time he faced Mayor Sharpe James, may have learned a trick or two about race politics from his old adversary.

Eve Kessler finds Mike Balboni formidable.

And Anna Schneider-Mayerson considers Jeanine Pirro as a lawyer, and fits her into a category of pioneering female prosecutors defined by “the paradoxically aggressive, feel-your-pain rhetoric of former-prosecutor-cum-TV-personality Nancy Grace; the ball-busting feminism of sex-crimes-chief-cum-thriller-writer Linda Fairstein; the refined and coiffed yet slammer-friendly M.O. of Manhattan D.A. hopeful Leslie Crocker Snyder.”

In Today’s Observer