Two New Jersey Congressmen are potentially vulnerable if they seek re-election in 2008 — both in Democratic primaries. Albio Sires, a former Assembly Speaker who took Bob Menendez's 13th district House seat last year, is knee-deep in an epic Hudson County Civil War; the freshman Congressman is actively backing his former running mate, Brian Stack, for the Democratic State Senate nomination in the 33rd district. Stack is running off the line against the Hudson County Democratic Organization against Sal Vega, his handpicked successor as Mayor of West New York and as an Assemblyman. He's also backing Assemblyman Louis Manzo for State Senate against the HCDO candidate, Sandra Bolden Cunningham.
If Vega scores an upset victory over Stack, and if Cunningham holds her current lead in the 31st district, look for Sires to have a serious challenge in next year's primary.
Ten-term Congressman Donald Payne has endorsed incumbent Wilfredo Caraballo for re-election to the State Assemby, even though Essex County's powerbrokers have lined up almost unanimously in support of former Assemblyman Albert Coutinho and former Assistant Newark Corporation Counsel Grace Spencer. And Payne's brother, Assemblyman William Payne, has said that he will run as an Independent for the 29th district State Senate seat. This puts the Congressman in a position of refusing to support the expected Democratic nominee, Teresa Ruiz, in the general election.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker has declined to unconditionally commit his support to the 72-year-old Payne next year. And his endorsement of Caraballo won't help his approvals with one of Newark's most powerful insiders, Stephen Adubato, Sr.