PolitickerNJ.com spied veteran Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik at the cocktail parties and meet-and-greets in Atlantic City last week and as Democrats prepare for Senate President Steve Sweeney versus Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Hornik said he wanted to add his own name to the gubernatorial sweepstakes.
“I would definitely not rule out running in 2017 or before,” said Hornik. “I love being mayor of Marlboro, and I am running again in two years, but I think we have a story to tell.”
Hornik won re-election in 2011 with nearly 70% of the vote.
This year, Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie won 75% of the vote in Marlboro while Hornik’s Democrats went 3-0 in local contests.
The mayor’s allies control the local governing body 5-0, two of whom switched their party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run on the same ticket as the Hornik team.
While successful locally, Hornik’s effort to take control of the party countywide fizzled when he and his western Monmouth forces ran up against the seaside fortifications of Vin Gopal.
Two years ago, Hornik and the Long Branch businessman went nose-to-nose over the AC roulette tables as they prepared to fight over the county chairmanship.
Hornik backed attorney Frank LaRocca, but Gopal won convincingly, and at the League last week, the two former rivals made the rounds together.
“Vin’s done a great job as chair and he introduced me to people,” said Hornik, who admits it’s early for discussions about governor – but inevitable.
“There’s a buzz,” the mayor said of what he encountered at the parties in Atlantic City. “I think people are looking for the next governor. Chris Christie won re-election and now he seems to be out there running for president. I think his leadership role at the RGA [Republican Governors Association] is brilliant. But there was a buzz down there, and there is a strong feeling among Democrats that we can win the governorship. Any way I can help achieve the goal of getting a Democrat elected governor, I will.”
That includes putting himself out there as a potential candidate.
“He’s an incredibly impressive figure and no matter what he decides to do next, he has a very bright future in New Jersey politics,” Gopal said of Hornik.