Watch for Kavanaugh retirement

State Senator Walter Kavanaugh, in ailing health for the last few years, is not likely to seek re-election to the Senate in 2007, according to two Somerset County Republican leaders and a Senate GOP staffer. Publicly, the 73-year-old Kavanaugh has been saying he intends to run again, but GOP insiders still expect him to retire. Kavanaugh was first elected to the State Assembly in 1975 and moved up to the Senate in 1997 when John Ewing retired. The leading candidate to replace him is Christopher Bateman, a seven-term Assemblyman and the son of former Senate President and 1977 GOP gubernatorial candidate Raymond Bateman. The other 16th district Assemblyman, Peter Biondi, had expressed interest in moving up to the Senate, but the new conventional wisdom is that Biondi will likely remain in the Assembly, where he is in line to become Minority Leader when Alex DeCroce retires. Some conservatives view Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery as a possible Senate candidate. There will be not shortage of potential Assembly candidates to replace Bateman in this safe Republican district.

Watch for Kavanaugh retirement