Former Republican State Senator Nicholas Asselta’s appointment to the state Board of Public Utilities effectively takes him out of the race for State Assembly in the first district next year – something that substantially boosts the Democrats prospects for re-electing incumbents Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam. Asselta, who hinted he might consider a 2009 Assembly bid following his loss to Jefferson Van Drew last November, would have been an extremely formidable challenger against Albano and Milam, and might have helped bring in a second Assembly seat.
One more observation: Asselta has been viewed as Frank LoBiondo’s most likely successor, had the seven-term GOP Congressman run for higher office or retired. His loss to Van Drew, who is eyeing a challenge to LoBiondo, substantially reduces the chances of a career in Congress. That leaves South Jersey Republicans with a limited short list of candidates to replace LoBiondo, if he ever decides to leave.