If Gov. Jon Corzine picks Bonnie Watson Coleman to run for Lt. Governor in 2009, it would spawn two new campaigns: one to replace her on the Democratic ticket for State Assembly in the fifteenth legislative district, and one to pick a new Assembly Majority Leader. While Watson Coleman lives in Ewing, her seat is widely viewed as the Trenton seat; her brother, Bill Watson, is a top political insider there, and her late father, John Watson, served many years as a City Councilman and Assemblyman.
Possible candidates include: Trenton City Council President Paul Pintella; ’06 Trenton mayoral candidate John Harmon, the CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce; and Mercer County Freeholder Keith Hamilton, who has moved from Hamilton to Trenton. Two Ewing Democrats, Mercer County Freeholder Lucy Walter and Councilwoman Kathy Wollert, are also possible Assembly candidates. But Democrats may be reluctant to replace the only African-American member of Mercer County’s State Assembly delegation.
Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, also a short-list LG candidate and rumored to be interested in a federal post in a Democratic administration, is not expected to seek an Assembly seat. The new dual officeholder ban would force him to give up his job as Mayor. The potential candidacy of Trenton City Councilwoman Annette Lartigue is clouded by her Zulima Farber problem: there are allegations that she intervened with a local police officer who stopped her daughter for a traffic violation.
Watson Coleman will presumably seek re-election to the Assembly in the June 2009 primary. If she were to be picked by Corzine after the primary, 15th district Democrats would hold a convention to replace her on the ballot.