Stirring the pot, with someone’s trial balloon

At what point does nine-term Assemblyman David Russo view the Civil War among Bergen County Republicans as an opportunity? One influential Republican strategist opined that Russo should consider challenging two-term Congressman Scott Garrett in the Republican primary, suggesting that running on a line with County Executive candidate Kathleen Donovan and Freeholder Lisa Randall might be his best chance to secure the fifth district House seat that eluded him four years ago. Garrett has said he would run on the Bergen County Republican Organization line. The Republican said that Russo’s chances could increase if U.S. Senate candidate Thomas Kean decides to run on the Donovan/Randall line. Russo openly mulled a primary challenge two years ago, after losing to Garrett in 2002. Russo ran for the open seat when Marge Roukema retired in 2002 and won the Bergen GOP convention. But the primary vote in Bergen — which accounts for more than half of the district — was split between Russo and State Senator Gerald Cardinale. Garrett racked up big numbers in Sussex and Warren Counties and won the primary with 45 percent of the vote. Garrett has $291,000 in his warchest — not a huge number for an incumbent.

Stirring the pot, with someone’s trial balloon