Talk of Frelinghuysen primary challenge is usually just that

Chatter about a conservative primary challenge to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen is nothing new. In late 2001, attorney Paul Castronovo, who had been Morris County Coordinator for Bret Schundler's gubernatorial campaign, publicly explored a race, but eventually backed down. So far, the only Frelinghuysen opponent to get any real attention was in 2000, when Michael Moore held a news conference in Morris County to announce that he was running a Ficus plant as a write-candidate in the GOP primary.

Last spring, State Senate candidate Steve Oroho slammed Frelinghuysen, who endorsed rival Guy Gregg in the 24th district primary. Oroho, who is widely expected to be in the Senate in January, questioned whether Gregg embraced the "liberal record of Rodney Frelinghuysen." Oroho specifically cited Frelinghuysen's "strong ratings from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and the Brady Campaign, and poor ratings from the National Rifle Association" and his vote against a ban on same sex marriage.

One Republican is mulling a race against Frelinghuysen next June: Peter Cavicchia, a Vietnam veteran and former Secret Service agent. But the grandson of New Jersey's first Italian-American Congressman may have one problem with what otherwise seems to be a stellar resume for a GOP primary: he contributed $1,000 to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.

The last real primary in this district came in 1994, when dentist Joseph Pennacchio hired conservative strategist Rick Shaftan and self-financed a challenge from the right to incumbent Dean Gallo in the GOP primary. Gallo won; dying of prostate cancer, he dropped out of the race two months later and was succeeded by Frelinghuysen.

Talk of Frelinghuysen primary challenge is usually just that