Radar Screen

Democrats have a 22-18 majority in the State Senate, and at this point Democrats really need to worry about just one seat in 2007: the 12th district, where Ellen Karcher ousted Co-Senate President John Bennett in 2003. The most logical GOP candidate is Assemblywoman-elect Jennifer Beck, who won a decisive victory last week over Democratic Assemblyman Robert Morgan. Senate Republicans have made no secret of their desire to see a Karcher-Beck race, but there is no guarantee that Beck will walk away from the Legislature after just two years to take on Karcher, whose defeat of Bennett and subsequent stories that she wore a wire in a federal corruption investigation have, according to Democratic and Republican polls, made her fairly popular. (Karcher’s popularity comes largely from Marlboro and Manalapan.) If Republican Declan O’Scanlon holds his lead over Democratic Assemblyman Michael Panter, he could also emerge as a Senate candidate, but like Beck, he might not want to risk his career after just two years. One Republican who seems anxious to run against Karcher is Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg.

Radar Screen