Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Rush D. Holt face tough odds in the Senate special election in New Jersey. A recent poll of the race to replace the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., showed Newark Mayor Cory Booker leading his fellow Democrats by a wide margin.
But in the unlikely case that either Democratic House member wins, a crowded primary would follow in their House districts. Pallone and Holt have held these safe Democratic districts for much of the past two decades, so there is a long list of Democrats who have been waiting to run for these seats.
Democrats mentioned the following potential candidates who could run for Pallone’s seat in the 6th District:
- State Rep. John Wisniewski, chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.
- State Sen. Barbara Buono, who is running as the Democratic nominee against Gov. Chris Christie. Operatives said that if she loses the gubernatorial contest, and if Pallone’s seat is open, she would likely take a look.
- Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac. McCormac has held a number of positions in New Jersey government, including a stint as New Jersey treasurer in 2002. He has served as mayor of Woodbridge, the largest town in the 6th District, since 2006.
- Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik.
- Former Edison Mayor Jun Choi. Choi, the first Asian-American mayor in New Jersey, had eyed a run against Republican Rep. Leonard Lance last cycle. Choi decided against it, however, after his town was moved outside Lance’s district following redistricting last year.
- Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler.
In the 12th District, Democrats mentioned these potential candidates to succeed Holt:
- State Rep. Upendra Chivukula, the first Indian-American elected to the New Jersey General Assembly.
- Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio.
- State Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. Watson Coleman served as the New Jersey Democratic State Committee’s chairwoman from 2002 to 2006.
- Monroe Township Mayor Richard Pucci, who has served in that role for more than 20 years.
The special primary for Senate is Aug. 13. The special election is Oct. 16.
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the Senate race as a Safe Democratic contest.