WINNERS and LOSERS: Week of Marriage Equality


Steven Goldstein and Troy Stevenson

The founder and executive director of Garden State Equality and his successor rejoiced this week with the formal beginning in New Jersey of same-sex marriage. Goldstein was the movement’s prime mover, and Stevenson proved a strong second act.

Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin

The longtime activist couple became the conjoined faces of same-sex marriage when Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley wed the couple at 12:01 Monday in celebration of a superior court judge’s decision allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Ray Lesniak, Loretta Weinberg and Reed Gusciora

The state senators from Union and Bergen respectively could take special pride in lending their presence to the wedding of Shapiro and Walpin. They were the lawmakers who led the case for same-sex marriage in the Senate. Gusciora was prime sponsor of A-1 in the Assembly.

Larry Lustberg

The attorney who won the same-sex marriage case for Garden State Equality argued his case from the standpoint of Constitutional Rights protection.

Tim Eustace

The Bergen County Democratic Assemblyman from the 38th District wed his longtime partner Thursday night. Eustace is the second openly gay lawmaker to serve in the State Legislature after Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15).

Vincent Prieto and Lou Greenwald

The assemblyman from the 32nd District and assemblyman from the 6th district issued a letter signed by 41 Democratic caucus members showing support for their positions in Assembly leadership. Barring a breaching of the Democrats’ legislative map on Nov. 5th, Prieto will become the next Assembly speaker and Greenwald will hold onto his position as Assembly majority leader.

Steve Sweeney

State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-21) has positioned a willing candidate against the Democratic Senate president, but the GOP had to grit its teeth when Gov. Chris Christie appeared this week for the first time in LD 3 and bear-hugged Sweeney, not his Republican challenger.

John Graham

The Somerset County Democratic Committee paid homage to its special guest this week: “The Mayor of New Jersey,” in the words of Vice Chairman Zenon Christodolou: Democratic fundraiser.


Chris Christie

He’s romping in statewide polls, but same-sex marriage occurring on his watch will hurt him with movement conservatives in the 2016 presidential primary. We know that post-Obama 2012 love-fest he wasn’t going to corral those voters anyway, but this makes it even easier to mobilize them against a Northeastern, tri-state area pragmatist.

Frank Balles

A Stockton Poll this week showed the likable Republican Sheriff from Atlantic County with no traction in his fight against incumbent state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2), Atlantic City. Despite Christie leading Barbara Buono by 30 points at the top of the ticket, Whelan has a 21-point edge on Balles.

Jose Munoz

A spokesman from the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) says the organization is focused on this election (where there’s no general election opposition, by the way), but the Freeholder is convinced he’s on the organization’s chopping block following revelations that he recorded people for the FBI.

Nikki Trunk

The GOP candidate for state Senate in LD 3 couldn’t even get the back of a plainclothes state trooper behind a rope line at a Third Legislative District appearance by Republican Gov. Christie with Trunk’s Democratic opponent, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3).

NJ Voters

The explosion of independent expenditures in the years following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has now created a putrid atmosphere of loud, obnoxious dumb advertising on steroids that has little to do with the people running for office and less to do with the people who vote.

Clean Elections

Remember that pilot program in the 14th and 37th districts back in 2007? Remember when candidates went from voter to voter to get $10 donations apiece (and no more), and were required to participate in ten debates around the district and if an outside independent expenditure tried to infiltrate the debate against a candidate, that candidate received rescue funds? Maybe you don’t, and if so that’s a shame – because that was great.

Barbara Buono

Yes, we also see Christie at the top of this list, but his appearance here has everything to do with 2016. Buono continues to sag in the polls and this week failed to stop the state’s paper of record, the Star-Ledger, from endorsing Christie for governor.

Cory Booker

This snuck up on people and showed an underbelly of social media vulnerability with the virtual senator-elect. Booker is a Twitter sun god, but on Facebook he’s lagging behind – of all people – Stuart Smalley, the guy who once intoned, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Booker’s Facebook page has a little less than 200,000 “likes.” It’s not a bad following if you put it up against New York’s Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (more than 92,700 followers) and Chuck Schumer (30,424). But it ranks significantly behind the Facebook account of Minnesota’s Democratic senator, entertainer turned federal lawmaker, Al Franken. WINNERS and LOSERS: Week of Marriage Equality