State Sen. Ray Lesniak’s (D-Elizabeth) hard-nosed efforts to dismantle the Waterfront Commission and re-route their duties to the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have his political enemies hungrily eyeing his 20th Legislative District senate seat with the expectation that he won’t run again.
If Lesniak doesn’t pursue re-election, insiders speculate that Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage would be the most likely candidate to run with establishment backing of the Union County Democratic Organization. Another possible candidate is Freeholder Angel Estrada, but it is unclear whether Estrada would run as an ally of Bollwage’s or as a renegade against the establishment Democrats and with support from the Elizabeth School Board.
If Bollwage were to run and win, his departure would set up a showdown for mayor, most likely between First Ward Councilman Manny Grova – who would have Bollwage’s support – and Fourth Ward Councilman Carlos Cedeno, who would have the backing of the local School Board and the political allies of retired School Board President Rafel Fajardo.
Estrada would also be considered a potential candidate for mayor.