TRENTON – Assemblyman John Wisniewksi (D-Sayreville) intends to make a formal play for the chairmanship of the State Democratic Committee only if and when sitting Chairman Joe Cryan officially says he's done.
"Chairman Cryan will reach out to members of the state committee andat that pointI would anticipate he will move onas statechair, and when he does that I am obviously interested," Wisniewski told PolitickerNJ.com, shortly after members of the Democratic caucus unanimously elected Assembly Cryan (D-Union Twp.) to serve as majority leader behind Assembly Speaker-elect Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange).
The state committee, composed of121 members, wouldhave to schedule ameeting on Cryan's orders to elect his successor to a two-year term. Sources close to the state chairman say his election today to majority leader indicate his imminent departure from the statewide political leadership role of his party.
"I am not going to do anything official until he makes it official," said Wisniewski."I am not going to preempt the majority leader."
Now the collapse of Gov. Jon Corzine in Middlesex County earlier this month can be traced in partto his failure to secure suburban middle class burghs – like Wisniewski's hometown of Sayreville, whichthe assemblymanhas always described as "Democratic, but conservative."
Wisniewski, who famouslychallenged Corzine's toll roads monetization plan, and won, refuses to pin the governor's loss on toll roads.
"This is not a defeat that you can attribute to one set of facts," said the chairman of the powerful Assembly Transportation Committee, whose allies note that during his time as local Democratic Committee chairman – tumultous economic times – he batted .500 in Sayreville elections.
But as the party looks to rebuild in the wake of getting beaten in the governor's race by Chris Christie, "There are two issues that come into play," Wisniewski said. "One is the direction of the party and the other is fundraising. We do need to spend more time making our case to suburban Democratic voters to assure them ours is the party best equipped to address their fears. The suburban turnout was not as robust as in past years."
The assemblyman stressed that he would also be mindful of maintaining the party's urban base.