This passed weekend, I gathered with a group of Democrats in Flemington at the Union Hotel for a few drinks and appetizers on Saturday night. We began discussing the 7th Congressional District race, and how Linda Stender would fare now that Mike Ferguson had dropped out. They all rejoiced at the good news. Beers all around.
The general consensus was that it was hers to lose. With all the likely 'best possible' candidates on the Repub side having dropped out –Senator Tom Kean, Assm. Jon Bramnick, and former Congressman Bob Franks---it seemed, the group gathered declared, that it was a cinch that Stender would soon be in Congress.
But, wait, I thought. There are lots of factors to consider:
Who will be at the top of the ticket in a presidential year? Who will be the Rs presidential candidate? Who will run against Senator Lautenberg? All factors yet to be decided. Then I predicted that the Republicans will run a woman, younger than Linda Stender, self-funded, without any record to attack.
And, voila, just like that Kate Whitman appears.
The daughter of Governor Christie Todd Whitman. Just turned 30. From a well-known wealthy New Jersey family. Never held office before.
It’s doubtful she will not face a primary challenge ---Senator Leonard Lance most likely. However, it would not surprise me at all if Senator Lance, a long-time Todd-Whitman family friend, was talked out of a primary run, so that the short-cashed Repubs would not waste valuable financial resources by spending money in a primary.
The young Whitman's [lack of] experience: She worked in Washington as the communications director for Representative Christopher Cox, Republican of California. She graduated from Wesleyan University. Her husband of four years is a lobbyist for Zeliff, Ireland & Associates in Washington. And she is listed on the website for her mother's group, the Republican Leadership Council, as the Executive Director of that organization.
And she is practically scandal free---except for a ticket for littering she received back when she was 21 years old. She tossed a beer can on the ground in front of a police officer in Bethlehem, Pa. Her then-governor mother said of the incident, that her daughter seemed ''to have had a lapse of judgment" and "She will pay whatever fine is imposed."