Monday, November 26, 2012

Around The Nation

New Jersey
LGBT Activists Urge Newark Mayor To Challenge GOP Governor Chris Christie
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, (D) via Twitter
TRENTON, NJ -- Steven Goldstein, the Executive Director of New Jersey’s largest LGBT equality rights organization, Garden State Equality, has promised to cross both his own state and the nation campaigning and fundraising for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, should the mayor decide to challenge incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie.
Political analysts think that the popular mayor is the Democratic party's best bet to beat Christie in next year's gubernatorial race which most agree the governor will run for reelection.
Goldstein is not the only person calling for support of the mayor, according to Barbra Siperstein, New Jersey's first transgender party delegate to the Democatic National Committee executive committee and a long-time activist in New Jersey,says she has received phone calls from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations across the country who are eager to hold fundraisers for Booker.
Fred Sainz, a vice president with the Human Rights Campaign in Washington said;
"Like few others, Cory Booker manages to capture the imagination of the LGBT community from all over the country, and from all walks of life," said Sainz,adding "I would suspect a wide diversity of Americans would support his campaign and help get him the resources he needs to win."
The New Jersey Star-Ledger noted:
The support is hardly surprising. Booker has made public acceptance of gays a central theme since coming to office in 2006. He has refused to officiate at weddings until same-sex couples have equal rights, raised the gay pride flag at Newark City Hall, and formed a commission to foster a "safe haven" for gay youths. Now they’re poised to return the favor. 
While other potential Democrat candidates — including state Sens. Richard Codey (D-Essex), Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) as well as Assemblymen Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) and John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) — supported the same-sex marriage bill and would probably sign it if elected, supporters say Booker is still the most practical choice. 
"Do I think Cory Booker is the only Democrat who can beat Gov. Christie? No," Goldstein said. "Do I believe that he has a much better shot than anyone else? Absolutely."
The mayor won tremendous support from the LGBT caucus at the Democratic National Convention this past fall regarding same-sex marriage when he told the delegates:
"I’m telling you right now, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to win marriage equality in New Jersey," Booker said. 
"It’s a matter of when we’re going to win it. And I know in my heart of hearts, if God is willing, I will be there on that day that bill is signed. I might even have a very good seat when it gets done."
According to the Star-Ledger, Booker plans to keep supporters in suspense awhile longer. Two sources familiar with the mayor’s plans told the paper he would decide whether to try to take on Christie — who has been more of an ally than an adversary — before Christmas, either clearing the primary field or setting off a family feud among Democrats.
Democratic party strategists point out that Governor Christie handed the party a campaign issue by vetoing a same-sex marriage bill earlier this year.  They also point out that the gay and lesbian community contributed millions of dollars to same-sex ballot measures nationally that produced historic victories in four states and helped reelect President Obama.