Republicans think their best chance to pick up Democratic Assembly seats next year is in the first district, where incumbents Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam are expected to seek re-election. Democrats swept the district in 2007 when Jefferson Van Drew ousted Republican incumbent Nicholas Asselta in a hotly contested State Senate race. Milam won by 2,020 votes – one of the closest races in the state; Albano was re-elected to a second term by 5,319 votes. Without Van Drew on the ticket, the GOP is optimistic.
But first, Republicans have to convince their top choice, Cape May County Freeholder (and Sea Isle City Mayor) Leonard Desiderio, to run. Desiderio was sought out as a candidate in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and declined. The two '07 Assembly candidates, Michael Donohue and Norris Clark, are reportedly mulling a rematch.