Under the Wardman: Chamber 2019 Bar Buzz

WASHINGTON – They couldn’t escape him.

There was Chris Christie on the tube over the bar talking to Chris Cuomo on CNN.

An insider’s teeth bounced off the glass of his scotch as he eyed the screen above him.

“Christ,” he said.

“No,” he was corrected, “it’s Christie.”

It almost seemed timed for the former governor to rain down on the revelers relieved of his actual presence for the first time in seven years.

The bodies crowded into the room and buzz ensued while Christie’s mouth moved.

There was a lot of talk about the implications of Bill Pascrell III’s removal as county counsel of Passaic.

Does it mean the end of his father, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), who coincidentally, used to play pool in the back of the very bar – the Hawk N. Dove – where the party occurred?

One source said yes, two disagreed.

Certainly it minimizes Pascrell’s chances of taking the seat himself if his father retired, the source argued, maintaining a case for Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) as the rightful, Paterson-based heir, with Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-35) owed an eventual move up to replace state Senator Nellie Pou (D-35). Two other sources at the bar said BP3’s toss-out won’t impact his father, however.


Former Freeholder Mark Caliguire will run against incumbents Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and Assemblyman Roy Freiman.

Spotted at the soiree among others: Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Assemblyman Raj Mukerji, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, Assemblyman Rob Clifton, former Democratic State Party ED Jen Holdsworth, Princeton Public Affairs Chief Dale Florio, Monmouth University Pollster Patrick Murray, and Edison Democratic Party Chair Shariq Ahmad.

Burlington faces filled part of the room.

The GOP’s melting down there, they acknowledged.

Deprived of the freeholder seat, Gina LaPlaca looks well positioned to take a crack at incumbent Assemblyman Joe Howarth, said a BurlCo source. Republicans are in damage control with Sheriff Jean Stanfield, whom they want to run for the Assembly in LD8. Attorney Mark Natale is also in the mix for the Democrats as a possible candidate.

Will LaPlaca happen?

Not certain.

She’s being recruited by the powers that be, two sources said.

Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling made the rounds. They look to have a general election battle in the swing LD11 this year. Downey said they are confident and prepared for a fight.

Then there’s LD22, where, amid all the turbulence back and forth between Senator Nick Scutari (D-22) and Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, a countywide Democratic Primary now looks inevitable, with LD22 as ground zero of the larger grudge match. “We tried peace,” a drunken face moaned at the bar, “All that’s left is war.”

Christie was still talking to Cuomo, albeit with the sound still turned down.



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2 responses to “Under the Wardman: Chamber 2019 Bar Buzz”

  1. The Hawk ‘n Dove used to have great chili. You could get a bowl of chili, a great sandwich and a draft Natty Bo (National Bohemian Beer) for under $10.

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