If Barbara Buono is elected Lt. Governor in November, it will trigger a special election convention to fill her 18th district State Senate seat. Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) would be the front runner, although former State Sen. Thomas Paterniti (D-Edison) and lame duck Edison Mayor Jun Choi could also emerge as candidates. A Diegnan victory would trigger a second special election convention to fill his Assembly seat.
Buono's election as Lt. Governor would also create an opening for the Senate Appropriations Committee chairmanship – a slot that would be filled by the Senate President. That puts a power committee chair in play during a possible Senate leadership fight.
More important to New Jersey politics if Buono is elected LG: she would immediately become a potential candidate for the 2013 Democratic nomination for Governor, when Jon Corzine would be term-limited out. And if Corzine were to trade is own lame duck status for a post in the Obama administration (possibly in January 2013, if Barack Obama is re-elected), Buono would become the Governor of New Jersey.
Buono could join a field of gubernatorial aspirants that include Newark Mayor Cory Booker (who actively backed Loretta Weinberg for LG) and U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill), who is hoping to be serving his third term in Congress at that point.