Schundler's Good Fortune
Steve Forbes To Be Mayor's Campaign Chairman In Gubernatorial Run
Originally appeared in The Jersey Journal,
Wednesday, May 10, 2000
By Peter Weiss
Two nationally prominent New Jersey
Republicans will become leaders of
Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler's
campaign for governor next year.
Publisher Steve Forbes, whose
unsuccessful campaign for the
Republican nomination for president
this year earned Schundler's support,
will become the mayor's campaign
Lawrence Bathgate, a former
Republican National Committee finance
chairman, will be co-finance chairman for
Schundler, along with Peter Flanigan, a
retired investment banker.
Steve Forbes And Bret Schundler
"Steve believes Bret would be a great
governor," said a Forbes spokesman.
"He's the type of Republican who has
proven he can succeed in reaching out to
a wide voter base in Jersey City. He's
been an extremely successful chief
executive, and that's what New Jersey
Schundler is in his second full term
as mayor. He won a special election in 1992, then won four-year terms in
1993 and 1997. The elections were non-partisan, although opponents made an
issue of Schundler's Republicanism.
Schundler said he doesn't plan to
make a formal announcement of his
candidacy, nor start heavy fund raising,
until after the November elections.
However, he has an event planned for
next month to "raise some capital" for
the organizing effort. He declined to say
how much he wants to raise at the
event, but sources said the campaign is
hoping for about $500,000.
"I feel pretty good about how things
are developing," Schundler said,
although he kept open the possibility
of a return to City Hall.
"If I made a decision not to run for
governor, I would run for mayor again,"
Schundler said. He said he thought he
could change his mind as late as six
weeks before the municipal election.
Bathgate said Jersey City's
revitalization under Schundler should
make a strong selling point for his
"I think he's done an outstanding
job in Jersey City," Bathgate said. "I
think he'll make a terrific governor. One
thing he's got is a story to tell (about
Jersey City). Whether it resonates with
Republican voters is something to be
seen. I'm looking forward to it."
Bathgate said he anticipates a close
three-way contest for the Republican
nomination. Schundler, state Senate
President Donald DiFrancesco and
Assembly Speaker Jack Collins "are all
competent candidates. It will be an
interesting selection for Republican
Schundler is the only one with
"He is without question a very
bright, articulate, attractive candidate,"
Bathgate said. "He's attracting
significant interest throughout the state.
I think he's a very credible candidate."
Forbes and Bathgate have teamed
to help Schundler before. In December
1997, Bathgate was the dinner
chairman and Forbes was the guest
speaker at an event on Ellis Island that
raised some $500,000 for the mayor.