LAWRENCE – It doesn’t look like state Sen. Shirley Turner’s (D-15) headed for a general election dogfight this year, to say the least.
Four years ago, then-state Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-23) enthusiastically supported GOP challenger Bob Martin, who, for his soldierly efforts in ultimately getting flattened by Turner, got the Christie consolation prize of director of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Turner got Don Cox, a former Ewing councilman, who’s running against her this year apparently without at least the declarative public support Martin enjoyed four years ago.
Still, as Turner joined Gov. Chris Christie for a bill signing at Terhune Orchards today, the governor insisted he’s not conceding the 15th District.
“It’s too early to give a convention speech, but I’m going to make her work hard for it,” Christie said, indicating the veteran Turner seated in the front row at a governor’s press conference where the senator, running mate Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, (D-15), and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, (D-14), and Assemblyman Dan Benson, (D-14), made up the considerable Democratic Party portion of Christie’s farmland setpiece today.
The lone Republican up there this morning was Assemblyman John DiMaio, (R-23), of Hackettstown, the lone non-Mercer resident among the onstage electeds.
“There will be no concessions from me,” the governor said in reference to the heavily Democratic 15th. “…If she loses, I’ll come to her going away party.”
He admitted, “Turner ain’t going to be easy to beat” in the heavily Democratic district.
Claiming to have worked well and hard but “quietly” with Turner, the governor did not rule out the senator’s suggestion that the state freeze toll pays for the next two years while the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey undergo a thorough in-house scrubbing.
“I have too much respect for her,” Christie said.