A likely bid by Rep. Dan Benson (D-Hamilton) for Mercer County Executive next year could open a parliamentary seat in the 14th district for the first time since 2010.
The front runner could be John Cimino, a Mercer County Commissioner since 2009 and the son of former Rep. Anthony (Skip) Cimino (D-Hamilton).
East Winsor Mayor Janice Mironov, the Democratic leader of Mercer County, could also emerge as a candidate for the convention. Mironov has been mayor for 26 years but has long been interested in serving in the legislature; She ran for the Assembly in 1987, 1993 and 1997.
Middlesex has the Senate seat — Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) intends to run for re-election — and historically Democrats have given Mercer both seats in the assembly.
The potential Democratic three-way contest for the county board between five-year incumbent Brian Hughes, former Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer and Benson could complicate the June primary if two or more candidates race past the convention and straight to lead the voters.
Benson is expected to announce his candidacy in December.
The other 14th Congressman, Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton), is not a fan of Benson; This might be one of the most toxic running mate relationships in the state. Hughes announces his candidacy for a sixth term at the union hall of DeAngelo’s local IBEW runs.
If the county executive contest makes it to the primary, it could mean recruiting candidates for the 14th assembly, including a primary for DeAngelo, who won his first term in the assembly in 2007 and as president of the Mercer/Burlington Counties Building acts trade.
Mironov declined to comment on the 14th district race.
“Mercer remains focused on counting all the votes from the November 8 election and resolving key municipal runoffs in Trenton on December 6,” she said. “Mercer Democrats have a broad participatory congressional process in which committee members and elected officials make decisions about which candidates to support.”
If all county committee seats are filled before the Democratic Winter Convention, Hamilton has 128 seats, followed by East Windsor (32), Robbinsville (18) and Hightstown (8). This tally does not include circuit chair-nominated delegates to the general convention.
The Cimino County Commissioner’s seat is also vacant next year; as well as Commissioner Lucylle Walter, who has been in office since 1998, County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello and Sheriff Jack Kemler.
Republicans must run in the 14th District if they want to take control of the legislature next year.