We tried as hard as we could to alter the redistricting process at the Heldrich so competitive districts instead of non-contests prevailed.
In the end, we lost as both parties received the gift of a map that benefits – surprise – incumbents in both parties.
But that doesn’t mean their map deprived us of gaming out our own map, and in that spirit, over the next month before Election Day, we will cover general election matchups we wish would have transpired this year.
Let’s start today with hated rivals state Sen. Dick Codey (D-27) and state Sen. Kevin OToole (R-40).
Why were the PEOPLE deprived of this gem?
This is a Democrat (Codey) and a Republican (O’Toole) who spent the last four years intriguing against each other.
Instead of fighting a phone booth war in the shadows, a general election would have given voters – not to mention vicariously deranged reporters – an opportunity to cover a race between two legitimate tacticians who genuinely hate each other.
If you were looking for a great inter-party Essex County contest (no, we don’t mean Kean versus Shapiro), Codey v. O’Toole would have been the race to justify all those dreadful hours in the Heldrich waiting for Gov. Christie Christie to plow through the front doors.
Enlisted as a GOP member of redistricting, O’Toole appeared with the double edge of being a hardcore ally of Democratic power brokers Steve Adubato’s and Joe DiVincenzo’s, who both hoped O’Toole would help cook up a map to derail Codey .
The process ultimately redistricted Codey westward into Morris County, but if he had retained a larger portion of Essex, it might have pitted the former governor against O’Toole.
Not only would the race fascinate by virtue of the two main players and their history of acrimony.
It would illuminate the dimensions of O’Toole’s relationship with Adubato and DiVincenzo and test the limits of those two brokers’ party loyalty to publically stay out of the race, providing observers with a glimpse into how powerful Democrats would operate in 2013 when Gov. Chris Christie runs for re-election.