Central Jersey Republican sources are preparing to field William Mennen of Hunterdon County as the replacement for Assemblyman Pete Biondi (R-16), who died earlier this month.
At the very least, Mennen will have the support of the Somerset County GOP Committee, which forms the backbone of the district, and of Hunterdon.
A resident of Tewksbury – located in the 23rd – Mennen would move into the 16th District, sources say.
On the Democratic side, sources say state Sen. Bob Smith, (D-17), Piscataway, wants South Brunswick Councilman Joe Camarota to oppose Mennen in a special election next year.
But Hunterdon sources tell PolitickerNJ.com that teacher Marie Corfield is also interested in the backing of her party to go up against Mennen or whoever else shakes out a of a Republican primary.
GOP activist Bill Spadea of Princeton is evidently telling close advisors that he intends to fight off-the-line and would challenge the establishment-backed Mennen.
Disgruntled by the lack of state party interest in their race this year, Democrats performed better than expectations in coming close to defeating GOP incumbents in LD16, and think they have a solid argument for state dollars next year.
Anticipating a better connected effort by their rivals, the GOP will bank on Mennen, heir to the deodorant fortune, who they say will be able to punch back against either a Smith-reinforced Camarota or NJEA-armed Corfield.