Rep. Mike Ferguson will announce today that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2008. The 37-year-old Republican, who won re-election last year by just 1% against Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Stender, wants to spend more time with his four young children.
Senate Minority Leader-designate Thomas Kean, Jr. becomes one of the most likely GOP candidates for the seat. Kean, the Republican U.S. Senate in 2006, was among the candidates who ran against Ferguson in the 7th district Republican primary in 2000, when Bob Franks gave up the seat to run for the Senate.
Stender has been raising money for a rematch and will now compete for an open seat — the second in New Jersey next year. Earlier this month, Rep. Jim Saxton said he would not seek re-election to a 12th term.
Other possible GOP candidates include: Assembly Minority Whip Jon Bramnick, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, State Sen.-elect Christopher Bateman, Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery, and Franks, now the President of the Health Care Institute of New Jersey.
Ferguson won 49%-48% in 2006 — a margin of 3,239 votes.