Back in November, Sen. Richard Codey (D-27) told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he would soon make a decision about running for governor. At the time, he said Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s own gubernatorial intentions would not be a factor in his decision.
When asked today if he had made a decision, Codey said he was still thinking it over now that Booker has decided to stay out of the race.
“You have to appreciate that the Booker thing kept us kind of in hostage [or] whatever you want to call it,” Codey said.
When announcing his decision, Booker indicated that he would explore running for U.S. Senate, which Codey found unusual.
“No disrespect for the mayor, he created a great brand for himself. No doubt about it. But all politicians talk about the next election and not some election two years from now.”
The man currently in that office — Frank Lautenberg — has yet to declare his intentions about keeping his Senate seat. But according to Codey, if the 88 year-old Lautenberg wants to run for re-election, he’ll be a force to deal with.
“I tell you what — I think the man has a pair of testicles, bar no one, even at his age.”
As for his own political prospects, Codey said he’s doing his due diligence in considering a possible run for governor. “When I get all my facts, I’ll make a decision that’s right for me and my family and the people of the state of New Jersey.”
To be sure, he’s looking for political donors should he decide to run against an incumbent who is reported to have raised more than $2.1 million since he announced his re-election Nov. 26.
“If I’m going to be David versus Goliath, I want the slingshot and I want the rocks too,” said Codey. “We all know that the super PACs will fund Mr. Christie to a large extent. It is what it is, but I don’t think you have to match him dollar for dollar at all.”
Gov. Christie delivered the State of the State address on Tuesday, which Democratic leaders have roundly criticized as failing to recognize the economic realities facing the state.
Codey said New Jersey’s statistics contradicts the rosy economic picture the governor presented. “We’re second in the country for foreclosures, we’re fourth highest in unemployment, 47th in economic growth. So I don’t know where he gets all these roses from,” he said.
According to a Star-Ledger report, a Treasury Department audit reveals the state closed fiscal 2012 with a $123 million shortfall that forced Christie to balance the budget by dipping into the already depleted rainy-day fund.
Comparing Christie’s budget to a Penn and Teller magic trick, Codey said the administration’s failure to meet the state’s obligations makes a mockery of Christie’s criticism of past governors.
“You can’t have it both ways. you can’t say when you weren’t in office they didn’t do a good job on the economy but now I’m in office the economy is bad it’s not my fault. Well you can’t have it both ways. It’s as simple as that.”
Turning to the topic of gun control, Codey had this message for Gov. Christie:
“You know governor, you’ve said this is a complicated issue. Respectfully, it’s not. I urge you to join the president, Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo and get on board on this issue. Now, we’ve been a leader on gun control in this state for a very long time. Step up, do the right thing, join us, all of us.”
Even though he is calling for federal regulation on guns, Codey said Christie’s national profile is such that he can influence the debate as other politicians are doing.
“When you’re a leader, your voice and his voice is certainly heard … He can raise his voice like Cuomo, like Bloomberg, like the president. It’s not a complicated issue. It’s an issue that we all care about.