By Art Gallagher
Republican publisher and former Democratic Assemblyman Dan Jacobson says he is mulling running for Assembly in the 11th legislative district GOP primary.
The potty mouth pundit says he supports incumbent Mary Pat Angelini, in large measure due to her pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage positions and that he is considering a challenge to Caroline Casagrande. It’s not that Dan has a problem with Casagrande, like he does with Sean Kean. It’s that he thinks he can cause a transformational change in Trenton if he heads to the Assembly beholden to no one. Free of party ties, donor expectations or special interest loyalty, Dan thinks he can go to Trenton and make government more responsive to the people and less responsive to the special interests. Dan’s goal is laudable. His proposed method is fool hardy, unless he can recruit many many other candidates of a similar mind set and get all of their petitions signed between now and Monday at 4PM. Not going to happen.
But Dan knows that already. He’s lived it already the last time he was in the Assembly 20 years ago. The fun he had driving the leadership crazy is probably more on his mind now than the frustration he experienced. That memory of the fun could be what is driving his consideration of a bid.
What Dan apparently doesn’t realize is that if he files to run for Assembly in the 11th district GOP primary he doesn’t get to choose who he is challenging. He says he is considering a challenge to Casagrande and not Angelini, but the balloting doesn’t work that way.
Assuming Mary Pat, Caroline and Dan are the only candidates in the primary, the election would be a 3 way race for 2 nominations. Dan can say he’s only challenging Caroline all he wants. The truth is that it would be a 3 way race for 2 nominations and Dan could end up knocking off Mary Pat instead of Caroline.
From my point of view Jacobson is a bigger threat in a 3 way to Angelini than he is to Casagrande. Take it from me, the powerful Republican blogger as Dan calls me, if Jacobson runs he is more of a threat to Angelini than he is to Casagrande.
By both perception and reality, Angelini is more liberal than Casagrande. While the very popular Angelini will likely be the top vote getter in the general election, she has some problems with the conservative Republican base. Hardcore conservative voters can be fickle. Many will vote for Casagrande and no one else. Many will vote for Casagrande and Jacobson, just to send a message to Angelini. They won’t mind if Jacobson beats Angelini, figuring they can knock Jacobson off in two years with a real conservative.
Angelini and Casagrande will be bracketed together on the ballot. Assuming Dan is the only primary challenger, his name would be appear in the column immediately to the right of Angelini and Casagrande on the ballot. If the party organization positions Mary Pat and Caroline alphabetically, which would make sense since they have the same seniority, Angelini’s name would appear above Casagrande’s. Jacobson’s name would appear on the ballot right next to Angelini, making it appear on the ballot that Dan is running against Angelini. Even though the instructions will say “Vote for Two,” many uninformed voters will think they have to choose between Angelini and Jacobson before voting for Casagrande who will appear to be unchallenged. Some will chose Jacobson and then vote for Casagrande.
Just some food for thought for Dan to include in his mulling this weekend.
Kitten, kitten, kitten.