Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy knows something about invoking President Obama on the campaign trail.
During his reelection campaign earlier this year, Healy never let voters forget that he and Cory Booker were the first two public officials to endorse Obama – or “our friend at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” — for president, even as most of the state’s top politicians threw their support to Hillary Clinton. Now, with Obama set to appear in-state with Corzine tomorrow, Healy said it will help the governor.
“We’re certainly hoping that occurs. It can only help that the president of the United States – particularly a popular president – is actively campaigning for you, for our governor,” said Healy.
Healy never got a personal appearance from Obama during his own campaign, settling instead for two-year-old footage of a visit from then-candidate Obama. But he said just reminding voters that he was an early backer of the president helped his quest for reelection, which ended with a landslide victory.
“It’s a practical, common sense argument to make to the voters: that I have a relationship with the person who’s running the country, controlling federal aid and pension and all those things,” he said.
Healy’s relationship with Gov. Corzine was strained as recently as a year ago over policy differences, but he said that it has improved since then. He preferred not to weigh in on Corzine's choice for lieutenant governor choice, but listed a few names he liked.
"I thought Doug Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, would be a good choice," he said. "Of course everybody wants Cory Booker or Dick Codey, and from what I hear neither one of those public servants is interested."
Codey and Booker, who together lead the state's two largest cities, formed a tight alliance when they endorsed Obama in 2007. And while Booker is seen as the strongest potential running mate for Corzine, Healy's not pushing him to get into the race.
"Cory feels he has work left to do in Newark and an obligation to fulfill his service to the voters and city," he said. "Not that I'm a candidate, but I couldn't walk out of Jersey City for something, and I'm sure Cory feels the same way.