10 Bold Jersey Political Predictions (that might come back to haunt me.)

(Trenton, NJ) —  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I’ve got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle can contain my brazen prescience.  So let’s get right to it!

10. Chris Christie will leave office within six months.  It won’t be Bridgegate that convinces the Governor to “pull-a-Palin” and quit half-way through his term.  In fact, Christie’s decision to end it won’t be The End at all …. it’s a new beginning: of his presidential campaign.  Chiefly, the Governor can’t solicit campaign donations from Wall Steet moneymen without running afoul of New Jersey’s pesky pay-to-play laws.   And further, despise the feigned crocodile tears upon departure, leaving Trenton won’t be a tough call for the Governor.  Not only is he sick of you and me, there’s no way in Hades Chris Christie’s gonna wanna sit through next year’s budget.  Not after last summer’s bloodbath.

9. The Lt. Governor will leave office within five months.  Poor Kim Guadagno can’t get no respect. Democrats loathe her because she’s a doormat. The GOP loathes her despite the fact she’s a doormat.  There’s little chance she’ll ever become governor (and she surely won’t be taking over for the Governor when he flies the coop….)  My prediction — notwithstanding an indictment because, hello, it’s Jersey — is Kim Guadagno will be gifted a judgeship as far away from Trenton as possible by Valentine’s Day 2015.  Mark your calendar.

8  A small caveat to number 9:  if Guadagno should find herself in legal trouble resulting from any alleged Hoboken shenanigans, look for Chris Christie to let her twist in the wind.  There’s no love lost there. Not a drop.

7.  A Democrat will be Governor of NJ by late spring/summer 2015 and…..

6. ….it won’t be Steve Fulop. (Not yet anyway.)

5.  PolitickerNJ will hire a woman to join our ranks covering New Jersey politics.  After all, there’s no shortage of talent.

4.  Look for a formerly disgraced Jersey politician to properly rehabilitate himself and stage a comeback in 2015.  Will it be Jim McGreevy? Bob Schroeder?  Sharpe James?  Stay tuned and find out who manages to find the grace to amend their life.

3  Two Congresswomen will be sworn in this January.  First of all, NJ Hasn’t sent a woman to Congress this millennium which is a disgrace.  Secondly, “Bonnie Watson-Coleman will win” is hardly a bold prediction.  However, look for Democrat Aimee Belgard to pull off the mild upset in NJ-3.  On paper the GOP should take this.  Only once in the last 125 years did a Dem hold this seat (John Alder 2009-11.)  Belgard’s opponent Tom MacArthur is filthy rich AND he’s got staffers like Frank Luna and Chris Russell guiding his campaign (both of whom are Jersey guys with a long track record of success.)  Meanwhile, Belgard’s campaign is run mostly by outsiders who probably need a GPS to get around South Jersey.  That’s why MacArthur should win.  But he won’t because South Jersey voters will choose a solid, pragmatic progressive (Belgard) over a carpetbagger (MacArthur) on November 4th.  One things for sure: this race has already gotten mean-spirited on TV.

2. I’ll get married.  A hunch that’s 11 years in the making.  Maybe I’ll even convince Senator Loretta Weinberg — who sponsored NJ’s marriage equality legislation — to do the service.   I’ll remain Jay Lassiter as my partner’s name is a little too German for me.  (Jay Lehmkühl? I don’t think so…..)
and finally……

1.  Marijuana will be legal for recreational purposes in NJ shortly after our new democratic Governor talks over.  Look for a big, splashy bill signing on Bastille Day or thereabouts to hark a new era in Trenton.  Think about it: whoever becomes Governor when Chris Christie leaves Trenton will have relative low name recognition, nationally and here in NJ.  What better way to declare “I’ve arrived” than a bold, avant garde policy gesture like legalizing marijuana for adults (like myself) who choose to smoke?  Thanks to Senator Nick Scutari, a bill to tax and regulate marijuana is already in the hopper eagerly awaiting the political tectonics boldly predicted above.

Jay Lassiter is New Jersey’s original Statehouse blogger.  He takes immense pride in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. You can follow him on Twitter @Jay_Lass.

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