Another name for the list of potential Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor, according to one party leader, is former state Commerce Secretary Virginia Bauer. She first appeared in the public eye as an advocate for 9/11 families after her husband was among the casualties of the attack on the World Trade Center. She later became state Lottery Director and now serves as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Bauer is a senior vice president at Covenant House, and in 2007 married Donald Steckroth, a federal bankruptcy judge.
There are some leaders among the Democratic base who are strongly pushing Gov. Jon Corzine to consider a woman as his running mate. Other possible candidates often mentioned by Democratic insiders include Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen), Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), Assemblywoman Pamela Rosen Lampitt (D-Cherry Hill), Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells, and Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.
New Jersey Democrats have not nominated a woman for statewide office since 1930, when 32-year-old Thelma Parkinson was given the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. She lost a special election for a two-month unexpired term. Since that time, New Jersey Republicans have nominated a woman for statewide office five times.