Lautenberg will likely stay neutral

While the bulk of New Jersey’s Democratic establishment is firmly committed to Hillary Clinton, its elder statesman, Sen. Frank Lautenberg,

While the bulk of New Jersey’s Democratic establishment is firmly committed to Hillary Clinton, its elder statesman, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, is not likely to throw his support behind any of the party’s presidential candidates before New Jersey’s February 5th primary.

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“I don’t want to completely close the door, but right now he has friends who are running. He thinks they’ll all make great candidates, but he has no immediate plans to endorse,” said Lautenberg campaign manager Brendan Gill.

The common Washington wisdom was that Lautenberg would come out in support of Clinton, but that he wanted to be courted. It’s unclear whether any campaigns have given him that attention.

All three Republicans who have shown an interest in running against Lautenberg have endorsed a presidential candidate. Commercial real estate developer Anne Evans Estabrook supports John McCain for president, while her likely primary opponent, state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, supports Rudy Giuliani. Ramapo College finance professor Murray Sabrin, who may also join the race for the Republican nomination, backs Ron Paul.

Lautenberg will likely stay neutral