No one on Team Jackson is taking tomorrow for granted in Trenton, where a runoff is scheduled between Eric Jackson and Paul Perez.
But the natural demographics of the city (52% African American to 33% Latino) favor Jackson’s candidacy short of his rival bulking up beyond his own community.
The dimensions of the contest – or so hope the allies of Jackson – resemble the 2010 runoff, when then-Councilman Manny Segura lost to Tony Mack.
Retiring Mayor Doug Palmer (pictured) tried to stop Mack – now headed to prison on corruption charges – from succeeding him.
His first measure was successful, but not his second.
First, Palmer worked to ensure that Mack, who had challenged him and lost in 2006, paid for his insolence by not obtaining the Democratic Party line in Mack’s 2008 bid for convention support toward his freeholder re-election.
Mack lost his seat.
Second – Palmer, in the midst of a competitive 2010 election season in which Jackson and Council President Paul Pintella appeared to be killing each other politically, sat down with the two candidates.
Intent on stopping Mack, the retiring mayor told the two candidates that they couldn’t both be in the race and expect to defeat the insurgent former freeholder.
Jackson and Pintella had at least one reported meeting at the Trenton Marriot amid rumors that one of the two of them would drop out and support the other in an effort to consolidate efforts and block Mack.
But neither man would budge.
“You’re going to have to live with yourselves,” Palmer is reported to have told Jackson and Pintella.
Mack won the May election handily, while Jackson narrowly lost second place to Segura, who would go on to get pounded by Mack in the June runoff.
Now Jackson, having made the runoff this time, stands poised to turn Perez into the 2014 version of Segura.