Girding for a race to replace Weinberg, Johnson says he and Huttle will remain friends

HACKENSACK — If it comes down to a battle between Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) to succeed state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), Johnson thinks it will remain civil.

“I’m not going to allow my ambitions to override my friendships,” he said while waiting in line for Gov. Corzine’s rally with President Obama.

The prospect of Weinberg moving into the State House as lieutenant governor might have seemed far fetched three months ago, when the massive corruption sting helped convince Corzine to choose Weinberg as his No. 2 based on her reformist credentials.

At the time, Christie commanded a lead that many polls put in the double digits. But since then, those poll numbers have tightened to a dead heat, and the idea of a Lieutenant Governor Weinberg seems much more realistic.

If the Corzine/Weinberg ticket wins, Democratic committee members from the 37th District will vote to select her replacement. Johnson and Huttle have both expressed interest, and there will surely be others, possibly including outgoing Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes and Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa, a former Assemblyman.

On Wildes, Johnson said “He’s an expressed an interest in the past, however I think it would be very difficult for the 37th District to have three legislators from one town.”

Girding for a race to replace Weinberg, Johnson says he and Huttle will remain friends