In this diary, I will cover the first group of competitive races in the upcoming legislative elections, and analyze the rest later this week. It is also posted at DailyKos.com (under “Mr. Liberal” as well). As we know, the Senate stands at 24 Democrats and 16 Republicans, and the Assembly 47 Democrats to 33 Republicans. In short, the GOP needs 4 Senate and 8 Assembly seats to take control.
You can read my analysis of the first group below.
NJ-02: Centered in Atlantic County (and Atlantic City), this district is represented by State Senator Jim Whelan (a Democrat and former AC Mayor) and Assemblymen Vince Polistina and John Amadeo (both Republicans). Polistina is challenging Whelan, as may AC Mayor Lorenzo Langford as an Independent. The district was long the bailiwick of Republican leader Bill Gormley, and Whelan has been the only Democrat to serve in the Assembly from the district since 1982.
This will be an expensive and possibly nasty race, with no love lost between Whelan, Polistina and Langford (a Democrat opposed to Whelan). The Democrats have nominated Freeholder (akin to County Commissioner) Alisa Cooper and Damon Tyner for Assembly; they will be underdogs, with Whelan having a better chance at victory.
NJ-03: Redistricting shifted freshman Republican Assemblyman Dominick DiCicco from NJ-04, which means he will have to run against the ticket headed by State Senate President Steve Sweeney. Incumbents John Burzichelli and Celeste Riley (both Democrats) will face DiCicco and 2009 candidate Bob Villare, with sacrificial lamb Michael Mulligan facing Sweeney. Ousting DiCicco is the likeliest outcome for the Democrats in this Gloucester County/Cumberland County-centered district.
NJ-04: This district lost DiCicco and picked up Democratic turf instead, boosting the chances of Senator Fred Madden and Assemblyman Paul Moriarity Gabriela Mosquera joins them on the Democratic ticket, and they have the edge against Republicans Giancarlo D’Orazio and Shelley Lovett/Agnes Gardiner. This, too should be a Democratic pickup.
NJ-07: Located in Burlington County, this district will be hotly contested as well. Popular Republican State Senator Diane Allen is probably a lock, but her new running mates are not. Assemblyman Joe Malone was shifted from a dark-red Ocean County district to the decidedly purplish 7th, and he will face Democratic Assemblyman Herb Conaway and activist Troy Singleton in November. Malone’s running mate is Christopher Halgas. The Assembly race here will be close.
NJ-08: This “race” developed as fast as Carl Lewis on a sprint. Wait a second…Carl Lewis IS running for State Senate here! The Olympic medalist is the Democrats’ choice to challenge new State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego in a slightly Republican district. However, the Secretary of State (aka Christie’s Lieutenant Governor) ruled that Lewis was not a New Jersey resident long enough to qualify; as the case in pending in court, Lewis remains on the ballot for now. Should Lewis succeed in his appeal, he will have to “run like the wind” to defeat Addiego, who definitely has a “head start” in this one. Republican incumbents Scott Rudder and Patrick Delaney face Sharon Pertnoy-Schmidt and Raymond Storck.
Enough with the puns, and enough with this diary…for now. Stay tuned in the next few days for the rest of my analysis of the competitive districts in New Jersey worth watching in 2011!