Even as the gubernatorial battle absorbs attention now and for the duration,next year's Trenton mayoral election looms as one of the more interesting contests of 2010.
In theshuffle of people intenton succeeding20-year retiring Mayor Douglas Palmer, stands Mercer County Freeholder Keith V. Hamilton, who's built name identification as a 14-year member of the board.
He hasn't yet formally announced, but the Trenton native who raised his family inneighboring Hamilton Township and moved back toTrenton two years ago, is ready to spring into campaign mode afterthe resolution of the governor's race.
"I'm keeping my powder dry at the moment butI intend to run, yes," Hamilton told PolitickerNJ.com at aDemocratic Party fundraiser tonight at Padrino's in Hamilton Township.
Hamilton formed an exploratory committee and registered with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) earlier this year.
"I'm a supporter of Gov. Jon Corzine's, and I would like to see him win re-election in part because as mayor I know I would already have a relationship with the governor," said the freeholder. "I don't know Christie."
An Air Force veteran, andvice president of Community Relations at SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc., Hamilton said he wants to make education improvement in hisnative town a touchstone for hismayoral campaign.He also wants to improve relaations between New Jersey's capital city and theoutlying area, broadening and strengthening community relationsin Lawrenceville,Ewing and Hamilton.
Apublic staple for two decades in Trenton, Palmer may prove a kingmaker next year, and sources say if he decides to back anyone among afast growing field ofsuccessoraspirantshe's likely to alignwith Council President Paul Pintella.
Other candidates include former Freeholder Tony Mack; Councilman Manny Segura; Alexander Brown, the board vice president and an official at the state Department of Transportation; Councilwoman Annette Lartigue; and John Harmon,former president of the Metropolitan Trenton African-American Chamber of Commerce.