Codey, Lesniak, Girgenti and Cardinale

In all, fourteen of the State Senators elected the last election — 2003 — are not returning: Bill Gormley (who resigned in February), Wayne Bryant (who is under indictment), Martha Bark (who faced ethics charges), Leonard Connors, Joseph Palaia (at age 80, the state's oldest legislator), Peter Inverso, Walter Kavanaugh, Robert Littell (after 40 years in office, the Dean of the Legislature), Robert Martin, Sharpe James (reportedly under federal investigation), Joseph Doria, Bernard Kenny (the Senate Majority Leader), Byron Baer (who left for health reasons two years ago), and Henry McNamara. Of the retiring Senators, nine are Republicans — exactly half of their caucus — and five are Democrats.

Nineteen current members of the General Assembly will not return next year. Four — David Mayer, Larry Chatzidakis, Steven Corodemus, and Charles Epps — are retiring; Chatzidakis and Epps were effectively dumped by their party organizations. Fifteen more are running for the State Senate: Jeff Van Drew, James Whelan and Jennifer Beck against incumbents; and Christopher Connors, Francis Bodine, Sean Kean, Bill Baroni, Kip Bateman, Guy Gregg, Joseph Pennacchio, William Payne, Louis Manzo, Sal Vega, Brian Stack and Kevin O'Toole for open seats. This number does not include three other Assemblymen elected in 2005: Donald Tucker, who passed away just before Election Day; Albio Sires, who was elected to Congress; and Peter Barnes, who resigned to become Chairman of the state Parole Board.

The mass exodus of legislators leaves just one original Byrnie: Richard Codey, who was elected in 1973, the year Brendan Byrne was elected Governor. If re-elected, Codey would become the senior member of the New Jersey Legislature. Three other legislators from the Byrne era are looking to return: Raymond Lesniak and John Girgenti, who were elected to the Assembly in 1977; and Gerald Cardinale, who was elected to the Assembly in 1979. All three are now veteran Senators.

If Ralph Caputo wins the Democratic primary for State Assembly in the 28th district — where nomination is tantamount to election — he would become the only legislator to have served during the administrations of Governors Richard Hughes and William Cahill. Caputo was first elected to the Assembly in 1967 (at age 29), as a Republican, and was re-elected in 1969. He returned to public office in 2002 as a Democrat, winning election to the Essex County Board of Freeholders.

Codey, Lesniak, Girgenti and Cardinale