If you want to know who wants to be the next leader of the general assembly, all you have to is look to those fundraisers in battleground districts and identify faces from far flung counties who show up in full-blown shmooze mode.
You look to places like the 11th District. That’s where assembly people Houghtaling and Downey partied tonight to raise cash for what figures to be one of the toughest general election contests in the state.
So who showed up?
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), long a rumored next speaker out of the north.
If the quad county alliance gets behind him, he may still have a shot.
Then there was labor leader Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton).
He’s the central Jersey, labor-flexes-its-muscles-by-taking-complete-control-of-the-state option.
If Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) crumbles and the South loses its grip for whatever reason (hey, it’s politics, we’ll get to the specifics in another piece), look for DeAngelo as a compromise candidate.
Schaer v. Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) results in… DeAngelo?
And then there was, of course, Coughlin, who is rumored to be the reward Middlesex gets for backing the return of Sweeney to the upper house throne.
Or maybe those three guys just really love The Jersey Shore… in February.