One political certainty: 2009 will begin with at least one special election convention for the Legislature – either a race for Leonard Lance's 23rd district State Senate seat, or a contest for Linda Stender's State Assembly seat in District 22. Lance or Stender would presumably resign just after the first of the year — the new Member of Congress takes office on January 3 — setting the stage for a County Committee vote betwee seven and 35 days of the vacancy.
On the Republican side, Assemblyman Michael Doherty and Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow want Lance's Senate seat. Karrow comes from Hunterdon County, which has the largest block of votes, and Doherty is from Warren; both parties have splits that would allow another candidate to pick up votes. Look for Lance to stay out of the race. And assuming its either Doherty or Karrow, there will be another special election convention to fill the open Assembly seat.
Possible Democratic candidates to replace Stender include: Union County Freeholders Rick Proctor and Alexander Mirabella; Fanwood Mayor Colleen Maher; Rahway Councilwomen Jennifer Wenson-Maier and Nancy Saliga; Scotch Plains Councilman Jeff Strauss; Rahway Council Vice President David Brown; Green Brook Councilwoman Melonie Marano; and former North Plainfield Council President Nathan Rudy.