Bergen County Democratic sources say that Joseph Coniglio won’t get to enjoy his presumption of innocence: that if the two-term Senator is indicted — or if qualified parties feel an indictment is forthcoming — Democratic County Chairman Joseph Ferriero will ensure his prompt withdrawal from the November Senate race. And several of those sources suggest that the new Senator will be Paramus Mayor James Tedesco, who is closer to party leadership than another contender, Assemblyman Robert Gordon. The excuse to pass over Gordon and Assemblywoman Joan Voss: both received subpoenas as part of the same Christmas Tree budget probe that let to Coniglio being a target of the investigation.
Coniglio’s problems are much more massive than a legislative campaign: people who receive target letters often get indicted — unless they simply see a sampling of the evidence and agree to a plea bargain. And since taking office in 2002, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie has won 100% of his political corruption cases, against members of both parties.
Big picture: if two Republican Senators facing a stiff fight for re-election, Nicholas Asselta and Sonny McCullough, win, and if Jennifer Beck ousts Democratic Senator Ellen Karcher, a victory by Republicans in the 38th district would mean a divided 20-20 State Senate, with Senate President Richard Codey (or Raymond Lesniak) sharing power with Thomas Kean, Jr., who has the votes to oust Senate Republican leader Leonard Lance.