State Senate ’07, Part One

Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, under fire from Republican Senate candidates upset with their lack of financial support and political guidance from the Senate GOP, is giving some consideration to putting money into the fifteenth district, where three-term State Senator Shirley Turner is seeking re-election.

Lance seems infatuated with first-time candidate Robert Martin, a a senior partner at a large business and technology consulting firm who has been spending some of his own money on his campaign.

Turner has served in the Senate since 1997, when she ousted two-term incumbent Richard LaRossa in a solidly-Democratic district that went Republican after Jim Florio pushed a huge tax increase in the early 1990’s. The district has since realigned back to the Democrats, and Turner has never had much of a problem winning.

The problem for Lance, according to other Senate candidates with a better chance of winning, is that his anemic fundraising over the last four years has left the Senate Republicans without enough money to compete against the Democratic leadership PAC controlled by Senate President Richard Codey. He doesn’t exactly have play money to take chances in districts where a win is unlikely.

And Lance, who may be among the wealthiest of the state’s forty Senators, has not used personal funds to help Republicans in need. He would not answer a question last week about his willingness to make a personal contribution to Robert Colletti’s Senate campaign against embattled Democrat Joseph Coniglio in the 38th district.

State Senate ’07, Part One