Brown, as anyone who reads this blog knows, has become a friend of mine over the past few years. Brown after losing State Assmebly races in 2007& 2009 in the old 13th district to Sam Thompson, vowed that he wouldn’t seek office again, that was until Democratic State Chairman Steve Wisniewski contacted him.
You might recall that upon the release of the new legislative map last week, I put in a call to a guy from Middlesex County named Bob Brown and asked about whether he’d run in the gerrymandered district into which his town had been inserted.
There was no way he’d run again after his town got stuck in a district that runs from the Raritan Bay almost to the Delaware River. That was laughable, he said.
Brown’s not laughing anymore. He’s running.
Brown is a Democrat, but he’s more conservative than most Republicans. He’s a colorful ex-cop from Old Bridge who was shot in the line of duty and decided he’d be better off pursuing law. At Seton Hall School of Law, he often ran into an affable guy from Livingston who even then “seemed like he was running for office,” Brown recalls.
Chris Christie is now running New Jersey. As for Brown, he lost a run for the state Assembly in 2009. That’s when I first wrote about him. It was unusual to hear a Democrat saying things about school funding like, “We gotta send that money back to the suburbs,” at a time when Christie was tiptoeing around the issue.
At the time he and I spoke, any Democratic run in the largely suburban 12th District seemed doomed. Right after my column ran, however, the Republicans announced the name of their nominee for the Senate seat in the new district, Sam Thompson, who is currently an assemblyman and who also hails from Old Bridge.
On the same day, Thompson’s name appeared in an article in this newspaper because he and another Republican assemblyman are “double-dipping,” collecting state pensions while also collecting legislative salaries.
The day after that article ran, Brown got a call from state Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski. “The Wiz,” as the assemblyman from Middlesex County is known, asked Brown if he might want to take that Senate run seriously after all. Brown did, and yesterday he filed the signatures. Brown said he’ll base his campaign on the pension issue. Brown himself gets $14,000 a year as a result of his retirement following that shootout, which he won, by the way. But “I will not double-dip,” Brown promised. “If I get elected, I will not take my pension.”….
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