Upon learning that state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) would vacate his seat for he Port Authority next month, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) quickly lined up support in her native Middlesex County, catapulting her to frontrunner status for the Democratic nomination to run for the sea in November.
Three years ago, when Republican state Sen. Peter Inverso announced his retirement, Baroni, then an assemblyman, moved quickly to wrap up several important union endorsements, cutting off potential sources of support for Greenstein. Greenstein, who had been in the assembly four years longer than Baroni, opted not to run.
But Greenstein said that Baroni’s endorsement advantage was just one of many factors that went into that decision.
“He knew in advance. I didn’t. So that makes a big difference. He was able to speak to a number of people,” said Greenstein. “…I had to assess a combination of what support I would get, chances of winning against Bill who’s a formidable candidate. Putting that all together last time – and I had next to no time to make the decision – I figured maybe it was not the right time to do this. I never looked back and thought it was the wrong decision.”
Now Greenstein is laying the groundwork early, stressing that she respects the process and input from the party’s top brass, including Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford).
“I’m just working it like you wouldn’t believe,” she said. “I’m laying the groundwork, talking to many, many, many people, and getting an extremely positive response.”
Greenstein’s running mate, Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) is also interested in the state senate seat. As a union official, he can count on significant support from organized labor if he decides to run. He’s also from Hamilton, the district’s largest town.
Greenstein, however, was the top vote getter last November, and thinks that makes her the Democrats’ best chance to add to their senate majority.
“You want the person most able to take [the seat]. I believe the numbers show that about me,” she said. “I’m hoping that will be the case, but I don’t want to presume to make other peoples’ minds up for them.”