If you blinked, you probably missed the brief glimmer of hope for Republicans in the 22nd district, where federal prosecutors served incumbent State Senator Nicholas Scutari with a subpoena as part of the same Christmas tree budget probe that involves the Senator from Bergen County, Joseph Coniglio.
The 22nd is a likely Democratic district, but hardly unwinnable for a Republican: four years ago, Republican Martin Marks, the Mayor of Scotch Plains, won 45% of the vote against Scutari. George W. Bush won 40% against John Kerry in 2004. And Scutari is running for the first time without his political godfather: John Gregorio lost his bid for re-election last year to an Independent.
But Republicans didn’t get their act together, and no one filed against Scutari in the GOP primary. Instead, they nominated Rose McConnell, an elderly former Somerset County Freeholder, as a write-in candidate.
Now McConnell faces more political heat that Scutari: she serves as a Commissioner of the embattled Somerset County Parks Commission, where three other longtime Commissioners resigned last week amidst reports of severe financial mismanagement.