The state senate seat held by the outgoing Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) will be the only state-level legislative position on the ballot this year, meaning that millions of dollars from both the Republican and Democratic state parties and legislative leadership committees are likely to pour into this central Jersey swing district.
“It will probably require a significant investment,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), who chairs the state Democratic Party.
Wisniewski was not prepared to estimate how much the contest will cost. Neither was Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), who heads the state Republican Party.
“The ink’s not even dry on the Senator’s appointment to the Port Authority. I don’t think anybody’s laid out any budgets,” said Webber.
Both parties say they have a lot going for them in the contest.
Democrats take solace in the fact that Republican recruits are not likely to have a pro-labor record that matches Baroni’s. There are also twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans in the district, and Gov. Christopher Christie’s tough talk to the public workers’ unions could hurt the chances of a Republican in the Trenton suburbs.
“Senator Baroni’s departure opens up a great opportunity for Democrats to grow our Senate majority,” read a joint statement by Wisniewski, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford), Mercer county Democratic Chairman Roy Wesley and Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Joseph Spicuzzo.
Republicans, however, note that 2010 is boding to be a good year for Republicans on the federal level.
“How the Democrats can be licking their chops to be on the ballot in 2010 is beyond me,” said Webber. “Welcome to the fray. We are not intimidated by the Democrats in 2010, I can tell you that.”