Richard Codey may be one of the most popular politicians in New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean an automatic re-election as Senate President next year — assuming Democrats maintain their majority. Codey has a block of Senators from South Jersey who seem ready to suport a challenger (that group could grow by one if James Whelan unseats GOP Senator Sonny McCullough), and some of his allies are facing tough primaries (like Ronald Rice) or retiring (like Bernard Kenny.)
If Codey decides to leave the Senate, some Democratic insiders say that Raymond Lesniak could emerge as a consensus candidate for Senate President. The 60-year-old Union County Democrat and a legislator for the last thirty years, Lesniak is reportedly interested in the post if it opens up. He has ended a long-running feud with South Jersey Democratic leaders, and has a connection to potential freshmen Senators from Hudson County. If he runs — the ex-Democratic State Chairman has never sought a leadership post before — it appears that he would have the votes to win.