Power broker state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) likes technology consultant Randal Pinkett as a running mate for Gov. Jon Corzine and dismissedspeculation that the Rhodes scholarTV star was a doppelganger pushed into the public sphere to haunt Newark Mayor Cory Booker into running with Corzine.
"Irrelevant and immaterial," said Lesniak when PolitickerNJ.com asked him about the nudge effect, designed to move Booker off his commitment to running for re-election to the mayor's office next year.
"Obviously Cory was the first choice," he admitted. "But Dr. Pinkett brings a lot to the table on his own in terms of educational background and experience. He says a lotabout the governor's vision for the people of New Jersey."
Lesniak wouldn't talk about how he advised the governor.
Suffice to say, "I feel very comfortable with him (Pinkett) and his background and credentials."
An early criticism emerging out of big vote stronghold Essex County is that Pinkett – who's never held elected office- simply duplicates hefty private sector resume candidate Jon Corzine from four years ago without offering any substantive government cred.
Lesniak doesn't think that works.
"You can't call Jon Corzine an outsider at this point, not now," he said of the governor and former U.S. senator.