So far the rumoured short list misses the opportunity. The Star Ledger reports that Christie's short list is comprised of Bergen County Clerk Kathleen Donovan, state Senator Diane Allen, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Assemblyman Jay Webber, former Congressman Mike Ferguson, and state Senator Joe Kyrillos. They are all fine people, but none of them would be a bold choice that would transform the gubernatorial race or the GOP.
Christie should appoint a minority leader to be his running mate. An accomplished black or hispanic Republican.
That there is not a deep bench of black or hispanic Republicans is an indictment of the NJ GOP. We have surrendered a large voting block because we didn't think we could compete with the Democrats who throw money at the minority community but do nothing to improve their education or employment opportunities. On the contrary, Democrats success in the minority community is a function of keeping those communities dependent on government largess. We haven't offered Republican solutions to our failing cities and schools. Shame on us and it is about time we did.
If Christie is going to make urban school choice and expanded charter schools a hallmark of his campaign, he will need a credible messenger for those communities to win their votes, and to gain their cooperation in reforming the system after being elected.
This is the right thing to do. It would also be good politics. A credible minority leader campaigning for urban reform would weaken Corzine where he is strongest. Making New Jersey's urban school districts actually educate kids while eliminating the wasteful spending will divide another of Corzine's core constituencies, the NJEA. The suburban educational establishment is hurting as a result of Corzine's waste in the Abbotts. Christie can win a significant portion of that constituency.
Last month I suggested Buster Soaries. That suggestion alarmed Corzine so much that he put the good pastor on his own short list.
Leonard S. Coleman, Jr, may be an even stronger candidate.
Mr. Coleman is the former president of The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. Mr. Coleman signed on with Major League Baseball in 1992 as executive director—market development.
Previously, Mr. Coleman was a municipal finance banker for Kidder, Peabody & Company. Prior to joining Kidder, Mr. Coleman served as commissioner of both the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Department of Energy, and chairman of the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. He was the vice chairman of the State Commission on Ethical Standards and a member of the Economic Development Authority, Urban Enterprise Zone Authority, Urban Development Authority, State Planning Commission and New Jersey Public Television Commission. Mr. Coleman also has served as president of the Greater Newark Urban Coalition.
From 1976 to 1980, Mr. Coleman worked in Africa in mission service for the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, providing management consultant services in health care, education and church and community development in 17 African countries.
Mr. Coleman received an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University. He also earned a master’s in public administration degree and a master’s in education and social policy degree, both from Harvard University.
Mr. Coleman serves on the board of directors of The Omnicom Group, Cendant Corp., Aramark, Churchill Downs and Electronic Arts. He also serves as a director of a number of other organizations, including the Children’s Defense Fund, The Metropolitan Opera, the Schumann Fund, and Little League Baseball.
Mr. Coleman is chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. He is a former chairman of the board of trustees of the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief and the United States chairman of the Bishop Tutu Scholarship Fund.
I don't know if Soaries or Coleman would even accept the position. However, these are the types of people that Christie should be recruiting as his running mate, into his campaign and to serve in his administration.