First she has to get through state Sen. Tom Goodwin (R-Hamilton), but a Democratic Party chess game is already on for Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein‘s (D-Plainsboro) 14th District seat.
One signal of a coming conflagration occured at last week’s Mercer County Freeholder Board meeting when Freeholder John Cimino, citing the injustice of increasing taxes in an economic downturn, broke from his six colleagues and opposed the budget.
That left rival Freeholder Dan Benson grouped with the pack as both men keep open the option of pursuing Greenstein’s seat in the event she defeats Goodwin.
But Benson and Cimino won’t be the only Democrats looking to make a move for a vacated seat in a field that right now contains nearly every area name with the exception of former Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore, who evidently isn’t interested.
Veteran West Windsor Mayor Shing- Fu Hsueh has informed party power players that he wants in, and West Windsor Councilman George Borek is reliably believed to be intrigued.
A fierce campaign task master who has won races for her candidates in the district – including Greenstein’s life and death 2007 effort – Liz Meyers also eyeballs the November general election with added interest.
Then there’s Kris Kolluri, also of West Windsor, the former state transportation commissioner, who surfaced briefly as a candidate for the senate seat when Bill Baroni resigned last year to take an executive position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Sources say there may at least one other “powerful” dark horse circling the field.
There’s a reason for the overwhelming number of prospective Mercer candidates in a district almost evenly divided between Mercer and Middlesex. If Greenstein wins, sources say Middlesex County Democratic Committee Chairman Joe Spicuzzo wouldn’t oppose a seat shift from Greenstein’s home county to the Hamilton-dominant Mercer County.
Former Mercer County Democratic Chairman Rich McClellan told State Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski that if Middlesex has the Senate seat, then the second Assembly seat should also belong to Mercer to complement Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton).