For readers who like to play the “what if” game

If Democrats are successful in winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, it could prompt some veteran — and aging — Republican Congressmen to retire in 2008. It isn’t always easy for a Congressman to adjust to live in the minority after they have grown accustomed to the benefits of majority life. In New Jersey, one possible retirement would be James Saxton, who is favored to win re-election to a twelfth term this year. Saxton is now the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and the Chairman of the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. After the 2002 election, Saxton was in line to become Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, but the leadership deemed him not conservative enough and he was passed over for the job. Saxton will be 65-years-old in 2008 — still young enough to trade 24 years of Washington connections for a lucrative government relations position. If Saxton were to retire — and there have been absolutely no indications that he will — look for a spirited contest for an open seat in the traditionally Republican third district. The most likely Republican candidate would be State Senator Diane Allen, but the Democrats could have a primary between State Senator John Adler and state Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin, who was the Mayor of Cherry Hill when she challenged Saxton in 2000.

For readers who like to play the “what if” game