Booker due back in Hoboken: Update!
Booker is DOUBLE-BOOKED!
Zimmer/Lenz event takes back seat to Monmouth County Dems
If Mayor Dawn Zimmer had you thinking you were going to spend any “quality time” with Newark Mayor Cory Booker tonight, think again.
Hoboken411 has learned Booker will spend most of his evening in Matawan as “Special Host” of the 21st Annual Monmouth County Democratic Chairman’s Ball. This is a serious political event with “Gold Level” sponsorships of $5000, and $125 “Black-Tie (Optional)” tickets. The Monmouth County Dems are far more important to Booker than little Hoboken in his master plan to someday ascend to the U.S. Senate or Governor’s Mansion. Monmouth – and not Hoboken – will be his priority tonight.
Hour-long drive to Hoboken for Booker
The Chairman’s Ball runs from 7pm to 9:30pm at Sterling Gardens. Google Maps indicates it will take somewhere between 50 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes for Booker to drive from Matawan to Hoboken tonight (and who knows if the rain will pose problems…) Zimmer is selling direct access to her office for $250 a head from 6pm to 7pm (without Booker) and regular tickets including Booker’s fly-by appearance from 7pm to 11pm.
Now it can be told Zimmer’s Teak event runs much later than typical political fundraisers to accommodate Booker’s first priority in Monmouth County. If he stays until the end of that event (which is likely), the Newark Mayor may not be in Hoboken before 10:30pm at the earliest, say a few words, get right back in his car and head home to Newark.
Don’t say you weren’t warned not to buy the hype about this fundraiser!
See the original preview, with facts & video about Booker’s previous support for Zimmer’s former political enemies, after the jump
Campos & Cammarano supporter coming for Lenz and Zimmer
In the “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” world of New Jersey politics, there’s no bigger player than Cory Booker.
The Mayor of Newark has a record of giving financial and public support to Dawn Zimmer’s political enemies. For example, the Booker Team for Newark contributed $2000 to help Chris Campos in his June 2007 council runoff against Zimmer. The Booker-aligned Empower Newark PAC funneled $10,000 into the effort to assist Campos in the November 2007 re-election campaign. Campos wasn’t the only Zimmer foe Booker had a soft spot for. He was the keynote speaker at former Mayor Peter Cammarano’s inauguration. Here’s a sample of his praise:
A month later Cammarano was gone. Booker didn’t return to Hoboken for another public appearance until shortly before the November election, when he spoke at a last-gasp effort to get out the vote for doomed Governor Jon Corzine. Booker offered no support to Zimmer, who was at the rally as acting Mayor running to finish the term.
The game remains as the players change
Now nearly a year after the last local appearance of Cory Booker, Corzine is just another rich guy at Maxwell Place, and Zimmer is the Mayor hoping to hold on to her absolute control of Hoboken’s government.
In order to maintain unchecked power, Zimmer needs Michael Lenz to win the 4th ward seat in the November Special Election against challenger Tim Occhipinti.
So what is a Mayor to do?
Head back to Teak (16 Hudson Place) with another fundraiser, and use Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla’s money-making connections to Booker to get him to make a brief appearance.
Bhalla was called out by the Citizens Campaign, Star Ledger and Hoboken411 for his Pay-to-Play law-skirting donations to Booker’s Political Action Committee. Bhalla contributed $2500 to the Empower Newark PAC before he received $120,000 in legal contracts from Newark.
Booker not expected to stay long
The fundraiser is being billed as :An evening with Mayor Zimmer, featuring Newark Mayor Cory Booker.”
For 100 bucks you can show up at 7pm and wait around for Booker to arrive, say a few words, and leave. For $250 you can get in at 6pm and wait an extra hour for Booker to appear. The longer you stay the more likely you will be hit up for even more money to fund un-elected councilman Michael Lenz’s 4th ward campaign. Zimmer isn’t being up-front about where the proceeds of her ticket sales will go, but political observers expect a big chunk of it to end up in Lenz’s campaign coffers.
Booker fly-by was almost in jeopardy
Last week Zimmer knew if she went through with plans to lay-off and demote Police officers that she would likely have a protest on her hands at the Teak fundraiser.
That threat apparently hit home, and was a big reason why Zimmer postponed the layoffs and demotions 60 days as she waits to see who actually puts in their retirement papers. Mayor Booker was not likely to come to Hoboken and cross a union picket line.
With the baggage-heavy Lenz facing a challenge from Occhipinti, Zimmer couldn’t afford to see Booker “book” from her event.
Share your thoughts about this political ploy below!