Gregg prepares for primary against Littell

Assemblyman Guy Gregg is leaning towards a bid for the 24th district State Senate seat next year, setting up a possible primary with longtime incumbent Robert Littell. If the 70-year-old Littell, who has experienced serious health problems in recent years, decides not to run again, it would likely mean a Senate primary between Gregg and Littell’s daughter, Assemblywoman Alison McHose. Littell has been in Trenton since 1967, when he won a State Assembly seat. He moved up to the Senate in 1990 when Wayne Dumont resigned for health reasons after 36 years in office. Gregg is one of several members of the State Assembly looking to move to the upper house by challenging an incumbent in a primary: Michael Doherty, a Warren County conservative, is mulling a race against Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance; and Brian Stack, who is also the Mayor of Union City, is expected to take on Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny in Hudson County. In the 22nd district, Assembywoman Linda Stender’s near upset over Republican Congressman Michael Ferguson this month, combined with the defeat of Linden Mayor John Gregorio, has led to speculation tat she might challenge incumbent Nicholas Scutari in the Democratic Senate primary. Stender was expected to go to the Senate three years ago when Joseph Suliga dropped his re-election bid, but party leaders picked Scutari at Gregorio’s insistence. Stender aides say that a race against Scutari has not received any consideration and that she is more likely to run against Ferguson in 2008. But Democratic insiders say that Stender — likely popular among Democratic primary voters from her congressional bid and with a substantial list of campaign donors — could probably take the Senate seat, if she wants it. The question may be whether Stender wants it enough to enagage State Senator Raymond Lesniak or Union County Charlotte DeFilippo in battle. Democrati Assemblywoman Nellie Pou is still mentioned as a possible challenger to John Girgenti in the 35th district, where minorities make up the majority of voters. Pou sought support for the Senate seat at a 2003 party screening committee, but without success. It is no secret that GOP Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole wants to return to the State Senate, where he served for several months in 2001. He has been waiting for State Senator Henry McNamara to retire, and while O’Toole — who would win organizational support in Essex and Passaic counties — has given no indication that he will challenge him in a primary, some Bergen Republicans say he has not closed the door to such a race.

Gregg prepares for primary against Littell