by MAX PIZARRO
TRENTON – The hard luck guy in district 29 filed to run for re-election today with his son, Nico, at his side, whose name will be on the ballotwith his father's, more as a way of ensuring that Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo's name doesn't end up getting lumped with Linden LaRouche or the long lost step son of Ross Perot.
Caraballo wants good ballot placement, and the veteran knows he needs to run with someone to make that happen.
Hewas officiallystranded Monday when State Sen. Sharpe James pulled a no-show, effectively endinga bizarre guessing game as to whether or not he'd seekre-election.
"I'm out there running by myself," Caraballo said defiantly.
His other running mate, AssemblymanWilliam Payne, also refused to file as a Democrat before today's 4 p.m. filing deadline. It is widely understood by members of the party thatPayne willrun for State Senate againstEssex County Democratic Partymachine candidate Teresa Ruiz.
"It's my understanding that he's going to run at some point down the line," Caraballo said of Payne on his way out of the state Division of Elections office. "I'm not sure why he didn't join the battle."
As for James, Caraballo couldn't supply any 11th hour speculation about the elusive former Newark Mayor.
"Sharpe's not talking to anybody," said Caraballo, who pointed out that he is confident in his own ability to run and win alone.
"I'm the third ranking member of the Assembly," he said. "I'm the only Latino out of Essex. People are free to run against me. People are free to poltiically decide they want to run against me. Just don't question my record."