Cunningham eyes Doria Senate seat

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is watching the clock, hoping that the April 2007 filing deadline might pass without a battle for the Democratic State Senate nomination in the 31st district, where incumbent Joseph Doria has not yet announced his re-election plans. Sandra Bolden Cunningham wants the Senate seat held by her late husband, Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham, until his death in 2004. Some insiders say that Cunningham might be convinced to take an Assembly seat instead, a route Healy seems to prefer. Hudson Democrats acknowledge that Charles Epps, under fire for possible conflicts of interest between his legisative post and his day job as Jersey Superintendent of Schools, is unlikely to win part support for a second term. But if Cunningham’s Senate ambitions remain firm — she has turned down other opportunities, most recently Hudson County Clerk — Healy appears likely to support her. Doria could fight it out in a primary, or wind up taking a golden parachute; Doria was interested in the Ramapo College presidency last year and one top Democrat suggests that he could wind up in a similar post in Hudson County. Even with Healy’s support, Cunningham is no slam-dunk in a Democratic primary. Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise appears strongly opposed to her candidacy. Doria’s career has been in decline in recent years. The former Assembly Speaker lost a Democratic primary for re-election to a 13th term in 2003, when Cunningham ran successfully against the Hudson County Democratic Organization. He was appointed to the Senate when Cunningham died a year later, but in 2005 he just narrowly won re-election as Mayor of Bayonne. One new name has emerged on the short list of 31st district Assembly candidates: Oswin “Oz” Hadley, Healy’s former law partner and close friend.

Cunningham eyes Doria Senate seat