Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin said he takes no delight in the troubles of Democratic Assemblyman Neil Cohen, who’s under investigation for child pornography that was allegedly found on his legislative office computer.
But knowing that a resignation from Cohen could come soon — which would bring about a special election in the 20th Legislative District come November — Morin does have a few potential Republican candidates in mind.
Among them are Kenilworth Mayor Kathi Fiamingo; Helen Rosales, the Elizabeth Republican Municipal Chairwoman; and former Union Township school board member Linda Gagliano, who challenged incumbent Democrat Ray Lesniak for state Senate last year.
“While the Assemblyman remains under investigation, he remains an Assemblyman,” said Morin. “The situation dictates that we be prepared with potential candidate in the likelihood that there’s a requirement for a special election.”
Democrats have been more tightlipped about potential replacements for Cohen, and state Sen. Ray Lesniak, a powerful local powerbroker, told PolitickerNJ that he will not make any political decisions until Monday. Insiders say to expect any replacements to be a minority and/or a woman in order to mirror the district’s ethnic diversity.
Whoever the Republican pick is will likely be a long-shot candidate. The district, dominated by Elizabeth, has a four-to-one Democratic registration advantage.