The front runner to succeed Neil Cohen in the 20th district State Assembly seat is Cecelia Dallis-Ricks, a Roselle Councilwoman, according to Democratic sources familiar with the special election convention. But most Union County Democratic leaders suggest that front runner status in this race could change quickly, since the only voter that really matters is State Sen. Raymond Lesniak. Lesniak has not yet endorsed a candidate, but has said he plans to support a minority candidate.
Other possible contenders are Union County Freeholder Director Angel Estrada, Elizabeth Councilwoman Patricia Perkins-Auguste, and Elizabeth Councilman Manny Grova. Two others with interest in the Assembly seat, Roselle Councilman and former Cohen Chief-of-Staff Jamel Holley and Roselle Mayor Garrett Smith, have no chance of being tapped by Lesniak, Democrats say.