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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mayor Palmer might run out of options

For the second time this year, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer has failed to get out the vote for his preferred political candidates in any sizable numbers, after Sen. Barack Obama trounced the candidate Mayor Palmer endorsed, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Through organizational efforts superior to those of Mayor Palmer’s machine, Sen. Obama supporters made sure that their candidate got the vast majority of votes in Trenton, with Sen. Obama getting 7,221 votes to Sen. Clinton’s 2,994.

Some may speculate that this hefty defeat can be attributed to Trenton’s demographics – with over 50 percent of the city’s population being African-American – but the fact of the matter is the rest of Mercer County, which is heavily white, voted in far greater numbers for Sen. Obama than Sen. Clinton, who enjoyed the support of most of the heavy hitters in the county's political scene.

The mayors of New Jersey’s urban areas have traditionally been empowered in the state’s political arena because of their ability to churn out large numbers of votes for the Democratic Party, but it appears that like much of Mayor Palmer’s skills, this ability is waning.

Even more significant is the impact this election is having on Mayor Palmer’s prospects for positions following his tenure as mayor of Trenton, which is suspected to be over following the 2010 election.

As a self-proclaimed Hillary supporter, Mayor Palmer is believed to have some sort of federal position waiting for him should his candidate win the November election, but the chances of that happening are surely diminished as Sen. Obama continues to show the ability to compete with, and maybe even defeat Sen. Clinton.

Another position could be the new Lieutenant Governor’s office, but Mayor Palmer’s likely running mate would be New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who has been suffering dismal approval ratings and has openly spoke of sacrificing his political future for the sake of the state’s finances.

That doesn’t sound like a very promising path either.

Should Sen. Obama win the Democratic nomination and deny the federal positions open to Mayor Palmer with a Clintonvictory, and Gov. Corzine win the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination and go off on a governor’s campaign and suicide mission, Mayor Palmer very well might face either running for the mayor's for a sixth time, or retiring to his quiet Hunterdon County home.

Let us hope he goes for the latter.

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