Burlington County Republicans are saying that they expect Gov. Jon Corzine to nominate State Sen. Philip Haines (R-Springfield) to the Superior Court this month, and that Haines has told party leaders he could be out of the Senate as early as June 25. Republican sources say that Christopher Myers, a former Medford Mayor who won 48% in a bid for Congress last year, has emerged as the leading candidate to win a July special election convention to fill Haines' seat.
Haines would become the third Senator in recent years to resign from the upper house to become a Superior Court Judge: Garry Furnari (D-Nutley) did it in 2003, clearing the way for Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) top move up to the Senate; and later that year, Joseph Charles (D-Jersey City) left the Senate after less than two years to become a Judge. It was the Charles seat that led to a rancorous primary between then-Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham and the candidate backed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization, then-Jersey City Council President L. Harvey Smith.