Forty open seats

What if the entire Senate retired in 2007? Here’s a peak at how the line of succcession might look: 1st District Nicholas Asselta (R): Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D) becomes the front runner, probably in a race with Cape May County Freeholder/Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio (R). Likely Democratic. 2nd District Bill Gormley (R): Assemblyman Frank Blee (R) becomes the likely GOP candidate, in a race with Assemblyman Jim Whelan (D) or D-turned-R ex-Assemblyman Paul D’Amato. Toss-Up. 3rd District Stephen Sweeney (D): Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D) gets the Democratic nomination to move up to the Senate. Republicans could potentially compete, in the unlikely event they could get former Assemblymen Jack Collins and Gary Stuhltrager or ex-State Senator Raymond Zane to run. Likely Democratic. 4th DistrictFrederick Madden (D): Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D) gets the Senate seat.His running mate, David Mayer (D) has more seniority and comes from Camden, but South Jersey Democrats know Moriarty is a future star — and that a Democrat who wins big in Washington Township can’t lose a general election. Likely Democratic. 5th District Wayne Bryant (D): The clear heir-apparent is Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, who would not cede his leadership post to become a freshman State Senator in 2007. Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez could move up, although some Democrats think she lacks the gravitas for the upper house. Possible candidates would include several Camden City Council members (Dana Redd, Israel Nieves, or Frank Moran). Safe Democratic. 6th DistrictJohn Adler (D): Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, with ease. Safe Democratic. 7th District Diane Allen (R): A potentially great race between Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D) and Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stansfield.The edge goes to Conaway (whom some Democrats might accept with some reluctance), who beat Stansfield, albeit narrowly, in a 2003 Assembly campaign. Leans Democratic. 8th District Martha Bark (R): The conventional wisdom is that the GOP candidate could be Col. Michael Warner, the Burlington County Republican Chairman, or former Medford Mayor Scott Rudder — and not Assemblymen Francis Bodine or Larry Chatzidakis. Safe Republican. 9th District Leonard Connors (R): Assemblyman Christopher Connors succeeds his father. Safe Republican. 10th DistrictAndrew Ciesla (R): Assemblyman James Holzapfel moves up to the Senate. Safe Republican. 11th DistrictJoseph Palaia (R): Watch for an epic battle for the GOP nomination between the two Assemblymen, Sean Kean and Steve Corodemus, and if Monmouth County continues to trend Democratic — and if the primary is bitter enough — a potentially tough general election contest against Democrat Matt Doherty. Leans Republican. 12th District Ellen Karcher (D): An extraordinary general election matchup between Assemblyman Michael Panter (D) and Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R). Toss-Up. 13th DistrictJoseph Kyrillos (R): Freshman Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R) of Monmouth County would have an edge over veteran Assemblyman Samuel Thompson (R) of Middlesex County for the GOP nomination. Likely Republican. 14th DistrictPeter Inverso (R): A great campaign between Assemblyman Bill Baroni (R) against Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D) or Hamilton Mayor Glenn Gilmore. Leans Republican. 15th District Shirley Turner (D): A couple of months ago, Democratic State Chairwoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) would have had a lock on the Senate seat — now, she would be unlikely to give up her post as Assembly Majority Leader to move up to the Senate. Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D) have both been looking to move up, albeit with little opportunity — setting up an interesting Democratic convention fight. Safe Democratic. 16th District Walter Kavanaugh (R): Assemblyman Christopher Bateman (R) is the favorite to take the seat his father held from 1968 to 1978, and Assemblyman Peter Biondi (R), now the Republican Conference Leader, may be positioning to move up in the Assembly leadership when Alex DeCroce retires. The wild card in a GOP primary is Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery, perhaps the most conservative officeholder in Somerset County. Safe Republican. 17th DistrictRobert Smith (D): Assemblyman Joseph Egan (D) gets the Senate nod after an extraordinarily brief fight with his running mate, Upendra Chivukula (D). Safe Democratic. 18th DistrictBarbara Buono (D): If it’s not too early for newly-elected Edison Mayor Jun Choi to run for Senate, then Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan moves up. Safe Democratic. 19th DistrictJoseph Vitale (D): Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) has an edge over Assemblyman/Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas (D) for the Senate, although Woodbridge may not be quick to give up the Senate seat they’ve had for 40 of the last 42 years to Sayreville or Perth Amboy. Safe Democratic. 20th District Raymond Lesniak (D): An outstanding intra party battle between three strong candidates — Assemblymen Neil Cohen (D) and Joseph Cryan (D), who may be the next Democratic State Chairman, and Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage. Safe Democratic. 21st District Thomas Kean, Jr. (R): Assemblymen Jon Bramnick (R) and Eric Munoz (R) are already in competition, in case Kean goes to the U.S. Senate in January. Safe Republican. 22nd District Nicholas Scutari (D): Union County Democrats seem to view the Senate seat as John Gregorio’s property, so a new Senator would likely come from Linden. Safe Democratic. 23rd DistrictLeonard Lance (R): The front runner would be Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R), but Hunterdon County Republicans might try to put their own candidate in — perhaps Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow or former Freeholder Frank Fuzo. Safe Republican. 24th District Robert Littell (R): Potentially a great primary between two candidates seemingly unwilling to cede the Senate seat: Assemblyman Guy Gregg (R) and Littell’s daughter, Assemblywoman Alison McHose (R). Safe Republican. 25th DistrictAnthony Bucco (R): Perhaps the longest short list of any district: Assemblymen Michael Patrick Carroll (R) and Rick Merkt (R), Freeholder/ex-gubernatorial candidate John Murphy (R) and Freeholder/UMDNJ federal monitor John Inglesino (R), and the Senator’s son, Ant
hony M. Bucco.
Safe Republican. 26th DistrictRobert Martin (R): Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio (R) goes to the Senate. Safe Republican. 27th District Richard Codey (D): Assemblyman John McKeon (D) would get Codey’s seat. Safe Democratic. 28th District Ronald Rice (D): Succession in the 28th all depends on who wins the 2006 mayoral race. Safe Democratic. 29th DistrictSharpe James (D): Succession in the 29th all depends on who wins the 2006 mayoral race. Safe Democratic. 30th DistrictRobert Singer (D): Seemingly, Assemblyman Joseph Malone (R), but Ocean County Republicans — who now have an alliance with a large GOP block in Howell Township (Monmouth) — could decide differently. Safe Republican. 31st District Joseph Doria (D): Assemblyman Louis Manzo (D) would surely face opposition from some Democrats in Jersey City and Bayonne if he tries to move up. Possible candidates include Assemblyman Charles Epps (D) and Sandra Cunningham, the widow of former Jersey City Mayor/State Senator Glenn Cunningham. Safe Democratic. 32nd DistrictNicholas Sacco (D): Does the seat belong to North Bergen or would Jersey City (which has no State Senator) try to reclaim it? That would be the question for Hudson County Democratic leaders. Watch for Jersey City Democratic Chairman Bill Gaughan , the Chief of Staff to the Hudson County Executive, to show interest. Safe Democratic. 33rd DistrictBernard Kenny (D): Assemblyman Brian Stack (D), the Mayor of Union City, would likely replace Kenny. Safe Democratic. 34th District Nia Gill (D): When the rumor mill had Gill going to the U.S. Senate or to the Corzine administration, Essex County Democrats said the seat would go to Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D). But freshman Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, the former Democratic State Chairman, should not be discounted. Safe Democratic. 35th District John Girgenti (D): The best chance for Latinos to elect a State Senator (they haven’t had one since Bob Menendez left in 1993) is in the 35th with Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D). Paterson Mayor Joey Torres could also compete, as well as Assemblyman Alfred Steele (D), who would like to become the first African American Senator from Passaic County. Safe Democratic. 36th District Paul Sarlo (D): Bergen County Democrats, who once considered a primary challenge to Garry Furnari, would probably try to hold on to the Senate seat rather than go with an Assemblyman from Nutey or Passaic — look for Freeholder Bernadette McPherson, the Mayor of Rutherford, to be the most likely candidate. The Republican field is limited to former Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano, Bergen County Clerk Kathleen Donovan and Nutley Mayor Joanne Cocchiola. Leans Democratic. 37th DistrictLoretta Weinberg (D): Former Assemblyman Ken Zisa, who came within a handful of votes of beating Weinberg at a special election convention, remains strong if Weinberg wasn’t running. Look for Assemblywoman/Freeholder Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D) to challenge Zisa. Safe Democratic. 38th DistrictJoseph Coniglio (D): Watch for a Democratic insider fight between Assemblyman Robert Gordon (D) and Paramus Mayor James Tedesco. The winner will be the guy who gets Joe Ferriero’s endorsement. The Republican farm system lacks depth. Likely Democratic. 39th District Gerald Cardinale (R): No clear favorite. Each of the four most likely Republican contenders — Bergen GOP Chairman (and ex-Assemblyman) Guy Talarico, Assemblyman John Rooney (R), Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk (R) and Freeholder (and former state Banking and Insurance Commissioner) Elizabeth Randall — will have problems uniting Republican County Committee at a convention. Democrats have an increasingly impressive farm system. Without GOP unity and a stronger party organization: Leans Republican. 40th District Henry McNamara (R): The front runner is Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole (R), the Essex GOP Chairman, who has been seeking a return to the Senate after his eight-month stint there in 2001. there have been rumors among Republicans that former Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano might be moving to Wayne to set up a safe district Senate bid, possibly with McNamara’s blessing. Safe Republican.

Forty open seats