Local party guard change in Hawthorne tonight underscores unsettling terrain for Girgenti

The steady din of progressive BlackBerry buzzing headed into nearly its first full week after marriage equality activist Jeff Gardner’s local take-down of state Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne) in a 19-7 victory for control of the Democratic Party in Hawthorne.

At issue is whether Girgenti – with a chunk taken out of him last Tuesday – will receive a primary next year, and names like Assemblywoman Nellie Pou and lame duck Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres are already circulating with attendant question marks.

“It’s the nature of politics for one generation to succeed the one previous,” said Gardner, who said he personally has undertaken no communications with Pou or Torres as potential challengers to Girgenti, who voted “no” last year on marriage equality, prompting Gardner to mobilize. 

Since his defeat last week, outgoing Democratic Party Chairman Girgenti sent a terse communique to his conqueror noting the time and place of tonight’s reorganization meeting in Hawthrone.

Gardner wouldn’t speculate about follow-up assaults on Girgenti’s senate seat.

“The 2011 elections are so far in the future,” said the incoming Hawthorne Democratic Party chairman. “And of course, there’s still redistricting to consider. Hawthorne may not even be in the 35th District, which means I wouldn’t be in the 35th. It’s always premature to talk about endorsements.”

Suburban Hawthorne stands in the shadow of Paterson, a relationship that always put the smaller burgh on chopping block watch. 

Moreoever, a special local election stands between next year’s legislative primaries and the present. Democrat Paul Cantello is trying to get a seat on the Hawthorne council, a longshot to gain entry to a governing body that is 6-7 Republican in a town run by a GOP mayor.

“I feel like the pressure is on for us to do well,” Gardner admitted.  

Local party guard change in Hawthorne tonight underscores unsettling terrain for Girgenti