Now that Newark Mayor Cory Booker has taken himself out the the gubernatorial race, everyone expects him to run for Frank Lautenberg’s U. S. Senate seat in 2014. A recent poll indicated that Booker would easily beat Lautenberg in a Democratic primary should the 88 year old senator make another run.
That hasn’t stopped Congressman Frank Pallone from calling Democratic County Chairs to remind them that he is still interested in the Senate seat he has long coveted but never had the guts to fight for.
Pallone best shot at becoming a Senator came and went in 2002 when he declined Governor Jim McGreevey’s offer to replace the disgraced Senator Robert Torricelli on the ballot against Doug Forrester. McGreevey brought Frank Lautenberg out of retirement and got the State Supreme Court to rewrite New Jersey’s election law so the switch could be made after the statutory deadline. The polls showing Forrester beating Toricelli scared Pallone off from giving up a easy victory in CD-6 in favor of his dream job in the Senate.
Lautenberg went on to clobber Forrester in 2002 and was elected again in 2008.
Pallone was passed over for the Senate in 2006 when Governor Jon Corzine chose Bob Menendez to replace him in the Senate. Menendez won his own term that November and was reelected last month. He is on the verge of becoming the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Pallone clearly wants to be a Senator, but his history indicates that he doesn’t have the fortitude to risk his cushy lifestyle as a congressman in order to fight for his dream. I hope he grows a pair and goes for it, because the race to replace him in the 6th Congressional District would be great for blog traffic.
WHO WOULD RUN FOR PALLONE’S CD-6 SEAT IF IT WAS VACANT?
If Pallone’s congressional seat comes into play, numerous polticos from both parties will have epiphanies and realize that their true calling is to serve the people as a member of congress.
The Democratic field would be crowded. Former Edison Mayor Jun Choi already has a federal account with six figures in it. State Senator Barbara Buono will have pretty good name recognition after losing the Democratic primary for governor. Better still if Steve Sweeney and Dick Codey let her be the sacrificial lamb against Christie in 2013. Assemblyman John Wisniewski , the State Democratic Chairman, will be a contender, as will Woodbridge Mayor John McCormick and Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman.
From Monmouth County, Chairman Vin Gopal, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik and outgoing Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson will at least test the waters.
Among Republicans, Anna Little will probably be a candidate regardless of what Pallone does. Little’s 2012 primary opponent, Ernest Cullari also wants to run again, regardless of what Pallone does.
Unless he’s elected to the state legislature in 2013, former Middlesex Freeholder Sam Kahn could be a contender.
Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore would be a formidable candidate. But after doing the math he would likely pass upon realizing how gerrymandered the 6th district is.