Turner won’t take sides in potential LD15 assembly contest

State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer)

UPDATE: A Democratic source in LD15 informed PolitickerNJ that at a recent monthly meeting of the Ewing Township Democratic Club, Mercer County Freeholder Lucy Walter announced that she had withdrawn her name from consideration for Watson Coleman’s seat and has urged the Ewing Township Democratic Committee to join her in supporting Liz Muoio at the upcoming special Mercer/Hunterdon joint convention to fill the vacancy.

The state senator in Central Jersey’s 15th legislative district is staying out of a developing Assembly race there — for now.

“I have not taken a position yet on who I would support,” state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-15) told PolitickerNJ Thursday about whether she would endorse a candidate to replace outgoing U.S. Rep.-elect Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) in LD15. “I’m just glad to have so many excellent candidates expressing interest in representing the district.”

LD15 has become the subject of much political speculation in recent weeks, as what looks to be a heated contest is developing ahead of a special Mercer County Democratic convention next month to select Watson Coleman’s replacement. While only one has officially declared, two front runners for the position have already emerged —  one in first term Mercer County freeholder and CEO of Trenton YMCA Sam Frisby, who announced last month that he’s forming an exploratory committee to evaluate a possible run in the district, and another in Mercer County Democratic chair Liz Muoio, who announced her intent to run last week.

Notably, sources say the contest is creating waves among the county’s leadership. Frisby is a close ally of newly-minted Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson, who told PolitickerNJ that his allegiance is to his longtime friend (Frisby was also one of the only county officials to back Jackson in his primary battle with Walker Worthy earlier this year). Hughes, on the other hand, has voiced strong support for Muoio, who he argues is the “most qualified” candidate for the job.

Other names on the shortlist include PBA Local 105 President Lance Lopez, Sr., Lambertville Mayor Dave DelVecchio, and Mercer County Freeholder Lucy Walter. Earlier this week, Frisby told PolitickerNJ that he is close to declaring a run, noting that his team has “done our due diligence, we’re confident we have the support, we’re ready to rock ‘n roll.”

Turner was in Trenton yesterday advocating for recent legislation she’s sponsored that would form an exploratory task force to study the use of body cameras on police officers in New Jersey in the wake of recent shootings in Ferguson, MO, and elsewhere.

Turner won’t take sides in potential LD15 assembly contest