It looks like New Jersey will have three competitive State Senate races: Republican incumbent James "Sonny" McCullough against Democratic Assemblyman James Whelan in the Atlantic County-based second district; Democratic incumbent Ellen Karcher vs. GOP Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck in the Monmouth-based twelfth; and for the open seat in the Mercer/Middlesex 14th, where Assemblyman Bill Baroni faces state Rate Counsel Seema Singh.
Whelan, the former Mayor of Atlantic City, is the favorite in the second, where McCullough, the winner of a February Special Election Convention, has significant problems with his GOP base; Assembly Minority Whip Frank Blee, who lost the special to McCullough, is endorsing Whelan. The Karcher/Beck race may be a toss-up, and Baroni will be favored to keep Peter Inverso's Senate seat in GOP hands.
Democratic sources say that Assemblyman Linda Greenstein believes she and Singh "have an understanding" in the event that Inverso were to retire after the Democratic convention, suggesting that Greenstein might enter the Senate race. If Greenstein decides against a head-to-head battle with Baroni, it would be tough for Mercer Democrats to move her out of the race to run a white male: Democrats prevented Keith Hamilton, an African American Freeholder, from running for the Assembly in 1999 and 2005 and for the Assembly in 2003, and just last week pulled the plug on the candidacy of another African American Assembly candidate, James Stevenson. A move to pull an Asian-Indian women now that the 14th is an open seat would give the appearance that the party is only intererested in white men to run in swing districts.