The virtual pavement-pounding in Atlantic City right now draws attention to the fact that it’s in Legislative District 2, which figures to again be a battleground next year, as Republicans in particular zero in on Assemblyman John Armato (D-2).
Armato managed to make it across the finish line in 2019, but he’s vulnerable – more vulnerable than his produce store-operating running mate Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2), and certainly more than Republican state Senator Chris Brown (R-2).
Brown looks strong in the district, and with that in mind, a source told InsiderNJ Democrats will
probably find someone in search of a judgeship or political appointment who will fall on his sword in a bid against him in order to pad the Democratic ticket for South Jersey machine stalwarts Mazzeo and Armato.
But based on their turnout two years ago, the Atlantic GOP will have the war paint on in search of Milaming and Landing their Democratic rivals.
It’s an open secret at this point that 6th Ward Atlantic City Councilman Jesse O. Kurtz, a Republican, will take a convention crack at running for an LD2 seat. The trick for the up-and-coming Republican star will be to convince a suburban occupant of his party of the propitiousness of a ticket balancing act. Someone from the Republican stronghold of Egg Harbor Township would benefit from running with someone who undercuts his or her losses in the supposed Democratic stronghold of Atlantic City.
Mazzeo is a heavy lift for the GOP, just like Brown for Democrats.
But again, Armato is seen as beatable. Combine last year’s results with the generic Republican numbers with what Kurtz pulls in his ward plus a little extra in the other wards where he has earned some respect and Kurtz sees a way to beat Armato – even if operative Craig Callaway goes back to working for the Democratic side.