The biggest warchest in the Assembly right now belongs to Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, followed by Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange), Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Franklin), and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson).
Greenwald’s state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) report shows him with $269,618 cash on hand, or more than double the combined campaign accounts of his 6th Legislative District mates: state Sen. Jim Beach ($80,438 cash on hand), and Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt ($48,680 coh).
A year ahead of legislative elections, Greenwald’s stockpile puts him in striking distance of the senate seat should it open up, or the congressional seat currently occupied by U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill). There is considerable speculation in Democratic Party ranks that if Adler can beat former Philadelphia Eagles star Jon Runyan in the 3rd Congressional District – a big if in a Republican district – he could emerge as gubernatorial timber.
Greenwald is positioned to make a future play for Adler’s vacated Congressional seat should Adler win and move on – or lose. Of course, the Voorhees lawmaker also told PolitickerNJ.com earlier this year that he would at some point like to make his own run for governor.
Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula’s (D-Franklin) $215,785 puts him in the Congressional watch category should U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) ever springboard up to U.S. Senate, or in he event that redistricting relocates Franklin into a district dominated by towns currently in the 7th, where U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Lebanon) serves.
The 12th Congressional District also has a piece of Franklin.
Just ahead of Chivukula in the number two spot among wealthiest warchests stands that of McKeon, a longtime ally of state Sen. Dick Codey’s (D-Roseland). McKeon last month reported $217,587 cash on hand to ELEC.
The fact that an alignment of Democratic Party machines crushed Codey last year and squeezed him out of the Senate Presidency chair inevitably raises questions about McKeon’s political future. Central among these is whether McKeon – as a continuing resident of West Orange – will even be in a district occupied by his upper house district mate. Heading up 2011’s redistricting efforts for the GOP, state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) wants to set his old foe Codey adrift in Morris County, where Republican voters presumably will sink the former governor’s career.
McKeon could face his own troubles in the event that Essex Democrats – working in concert with O’Toole- kick the Caldwells into O’Toole’s district, and consign West Orange to an Orange-East Orange-South Orange-Newark district, threatening McKeon’s chances for a Democratic Primary victory against an African-American challenger.
In any event, McKeon’s sizeable warchest reflects readiness in the face of redistricting that could put him in jeopardy.
The same could be said for Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson), whose $177,473 cash-on-hand could be the foundation for a senate run in a district now headed by state Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne). Everyone in the 35th Legislative District right now – Girgenti, Pou, and Assemblywoman Elease Evans (D-Paterson; $44,405 cash-on-hand) is on notice that between redistricting and a new Paterson mayor in Jeffrey Jones, the district is politically volatile.
A Republican, Assemblyman Joe Malone (R-Burlington), owns the fifth biggest warchest. Malone has $137,511 in the bank in a district ruled by state Sen. Bob Singer (R-Brick). Singer has $36,000 cash-on-hand.
Other Assemblypeople with an edge on cash include Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) with $139,435; Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), $134,279; Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), $104,876; Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), $78,364; and Assemblyman John Amodeo (R-Margate), $72,532.