Did you feel your political fortunes shift over the weekend? If so, it may be because deals were being made — or at least political do-si-dos were being executed — over some holiday tables.
Among those seen at Martin and Lonna Schwartz’s New Year’s Eve afternoon bash was Robert Jackson — rumored to be running for mayor, an office he held in 1988 — on a ticket including Chris Swenson, Karen Turner and Joseph Kavesh.
Jackson agreed to sit down to a video interview with Baristanet on Monday — then reneged an hour before saying that developments were happening and he didn’t feel prepared to talk yet.
Also at the Schwartz bash was Montclair first-ward councilor Rich Murnick, who has also been said to be weighing a mayoral bid himself.
Murnick also made it to former Montclair councilor Don Zief’s traditional New Year’s Day brunch, as did Jackson running-mate Chris Swenson and Harvey Susswein, who floated a possible run for mayor early this fall.
Asked whether Jackson might have postponed his interview with us because the news might involve the addition of Murnick to that slate, Murnick — reached by phone on Monday — was cagey, but used the word “we” a lot. “We’ve been talking quite frequently,” he said. “I think Robert can make a tremendous mayor.”
“We’re optimistic we’ll have a real good group in place shortly,” he added. “Wait a big longer. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Not in attendance at the Zief bash — where potato latkes are a chief draw, according to Murnick — was the omnipresent former Montclair Mayor Bob Russo.
“I didn’t have a Bob Russo sighting,” said Murnick. “But the food was absolutely delicious.”
Schwartz, a behind-the-scenes presence in Montclair politics and rumored possible candidate for 3rd ward councilor himself, says not to read too much into his invitations to Murnick and Jackson.
“It was a party to chill out, not make political endorsements,” he says.
Candidates can make it official starting Tuesday morning, when petition paperwork becomes available in the town clerk’s office.