SOMERSET HILLS NJ - In this column I have recently opined that the Somerset Hills primary voters and indeed primary voters all across the Garden State may well have a say in the presidential nominations. No less than election lawyer extraordinaire Donald Scarinci penned a piece this week that also projects relevance for the long forgotten presidential primary voter in New Jersey.
The presidential campaigns have indeed turned their eyes to New Jersey. The traveling circuses of the Democratic Party and the GOP are headed our way.
The "little engine that could", the campaign of Ohio Governor John Kasich, has begun to construct a grassroots presence in New Jersey. Former Congressman Dick Zimmer, who represented the Somerset Hills in the House for six years, is spearheading the ballot access efforts for the Kasich campaign. But wait, there's more.
The Somerset HIlls remembers well former Governor Christie Whitman. The area lent some very large pluralities to her 1993 and 1997 victories, and some of us even remember that some of her ancestors gave their surname to one of the Somerset Hills (Schley Mountain). Governor Whitman will host a fundraiser for Kasich on April 15. The host committee boasts three other pols who have represented the Somerset Hills: State Senator Kip Bateman, State Assemblyman Jack Ciatterelli (who represented the area as a freeholder) and Zimmer.
The Kasich event will come only two days after an interesting event for Hilary Clinton. On April 13, Chelsea Clinton will attend a private event with donors in Princeton. The Clinton campaign boasts the Somerset Hills most prominent Democrat, Somerset County Democrat Chair Peg Schafer, as one of its New Jersey supporters. It is not yet clear whether Ms. Schafer will attend the Princeton event.
Heidi Cruz was scheduled to make four appearances in New Jersey this week, none of which would have been in Somerset County. Team Cruz postponed those events so that Ms. Cruz could campaign for Senator Cruz in the latest battleground state - Wisconsin.
As for the Trump Campaign, New Jersey is a bit of an anomaly. Mr. Trump has campaigned against the so-called "Republican Establishment" and has had a lot of success doing so. In New Jersey, however, the GOP machinery appears to be support him. Political activists affiliated with Governor Christie and the NJGOP are working full-speed-ahead to secure a prime place on the ballot for Mr. Trump and his slate of convention delegates.
So far, there is no exciting Jersey news from the Bernie Sanders camp. Maybe New Jersey doesn't feel the bern.