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ATLANTIC CITY – Swamplands to northward, power lines and swamp to south.
Pines to westward.
At the edge of the ocean there’s a city, where the steel girders of casinos ride above the squashed, squat forms of residential housing, and down in that gray area between both worlds stands a donut shop and inside sits Craig Callaway.
He’s one of those political names you associate with epicurean mecca Atlantic City, a vote-by-mail architect with a less than pristine past who nonetheless has gritted out a path back to local prominence as a player behind the throne of the local Democratic Party.
He and his organization picked a candidate in the competitive 2nd Congressional District contest, where Atlantic City figures prominently as a torque point, and Atlantic City fits significantly into the county, an the county fits into the district.
Callaway backs Amy Kennedy, and in an interview this morning, he gave his opinion on the implications of an open primary in New Jersey, and sized up Kennedy’s chances and the chances of Democrats looking to go up against incumbent U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2) in the November general election.
Can Kennedy win the Atlantic County Convention on March 8th?
“I wouldn’t say a good position,” Callaway said. “I would say she has a chance. She has a genuine personality and she comes across as someone you can relate to.”
If she doesn’t get the line can she still compete?
“Yes. …with our organization and our effort, we add a lot of new voters to the equation. There’s a bunch of party loyalists and then there are a slew of new voters who can come in and turn that around and that’s why I think Amy has a chance. …not just in [Atlantic City and] Pleasantville, but throughout CD2.”
Not only does the presidential contest create volatility in this election cycle, but the mayoral election creates a unique dynamic this time. Usuually the mayoral race occurrs ina gubernatorial election year, but this time, as incumbent Mayor Marty Small competes in the absence of former Mayor Frank Gilliam, jettisoned from City Hall on corruption charges.
Sandwiched between local and prez politics, Callaway looked momentarily at the national race.
“I think that it looks like Trump’s going to get reelected because Democrats don’t have their act together,” he said. “They’re leaning toward Bernie Sanders, which is a lot of fluff.”
If he had his druthers, who would he like to see prevail at a brokered convention?
“I would like to see Bloomberg,” Callaway said. “He’s the strongest because he has a lot of money.”