|NJ Democratic Assemblyman and gubernatorial hopeful John Wisniewski|
He did it early before the public was aware of the wave of support that eventually would build for the Vermont senator.
Then he put himself on the line against traditional Democratic interests that backed Hillary Clinton by becoming Sanders' campaign leader in New Jersey.
After the Democrats went with Clinton, Wisniewski announced his own candidacy--for governor of New Jersey.
He adopted the Sanders campaign model: Focusing on the forgotten middle class, eschewing traditional, big-moneyed political interests; soliciting small, individual contributions; and relying on social media to spread his message.
Today, in what had to be a disappointment to Wisniewski (nicknamed The Wiz), Bernie Sanders announced that he would not be endorsing any of the candidates in the New Jersey race.
Nicholas Pugliese reported today in The Record:
“I want to thank John Wisniewski for the strong support he gave me during the Democratic presidential primary,” Sen. Sanders said in a statement. “He played a great role in that race, and I am confident he would make an excellent governor for New Jersey.
“As everyone knows, the primary in New Jersey is hotly contested and there are those who supported me in 2016 who are supporting John and others who are supporting his opponent,” he continued in an apparent reference to (Phil) Murphy. “For that reason alone, I have not endorsed in the New Jersey governor’s race.”
The political calculation here is obvious. Murphy a multi-millionaire Wall Street guy with no political experience, has been anointed by the Democratic bosses who believe they've discovered a Jon Corzine clone (remember him?)
Murphy's so rich that he can bankroll the campaign himself, saving the party a ton of cash and fundraising hassles. Not only is he virtually assured to trounce the post-Christie, Republican candidate, but the bosses also hope to get him to bankroll Democratic candidates in down-ticket races and to appoint their choices to fill key positions in his administration.
Murphy is talking like a progressive (also like Corzine) and appears to be in line with enough of the Sanders program to convince Bernie not to alienate a future governor with the platform (and money) to influence national issues.
“We don’t see it as not endorsing,” Wisniewski’s campaign manager, Robert Becker, said bravely, noting Sanders’ sort-of vote of confidence that Wisniewski “would make an excellent governor.”
Small comfort but, in politics, you take what you can.
It can be a heartless business.
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