Goodwin, taken by surprise, mulls state senate bid

Hamilton Councilman Tom Goodwin has not decided whether he’ll seek to replace state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) next month.

“I’ve got to sit down and talk to my family about it. It’s all happening quickly.  And as a family we haven’t talked about it yet,” said Goodwin.  “Right now it’s Bill’s day.  He should be congratulated on his new position. I guess in the next coming weeks we can decide who’s going to succeed him.”

Republican county committee members from the Mercer and Middlesex portions of the district will meet sometime next month to pick a replacement for Baroni who will serve until at least January, 2011.  A special election will be held in November for the remaining year of Baroni’s term.

In Republican circles, Goodwin is the most talked about potential successor to Baroni, but Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo has not ruled out a run.  Councilwoman Kelly Yaede, whose name was reportedly included along with Goodwin and Bencivengo in a recent Republican survey of the district, could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Goodwin, a financial consultant, tried to engage in a normal work routine today, but his phone hummed constantly.  He had no idea that Baroni was in line to become the top New Jersey official on the Port Authority.

Democratic Assembly members Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) plan to seek their party’s nod to challenge whoever the interim incumbent is in November.  Former Transportation Commissioner and state Schools Development Authority head Kris Kolluri is also mulling a run. 

Goodwin said that it’s too early to say whether he will defer to Bencivengo if he decides to run. 

“I have no idea yet,” he said.