By Darryl R. Isherwood | January 6th, 2012 - 4:52pm
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Senate President Steve Sweeney has opened a federal exploratory committee with an eye toward a U.S. Senate run, a source with knowledge of Sweeney's plans told PolitickerNJ.

According to the source, Sweeney is eyeing the Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, but it's unknown if Sweeney plans to challenge the incumbent Democrat in a primary should Lautenberg, who will be 88 later this month, choose to run for another term.  

The source said any discussion of a primary is premature as Lautenberg is not up for re-election until 2014.

Lautenberg has hinted at wanting another term in office, but with two years left in his term has not yet publicly declared his intent.

According to the source, Sweeney has been approached several times over the past two years over a potential run for federal office.

Friday, a spokesman for Lautenberg said the senator will take all comers.

"Senator Lautenberg will be prepared to meet any potential challenge but right now he's focused on working hard for his state and getting Senator Menendez and President Obama re-elected," said spokesman Caley Gray. 

Sweeney is set to begin his second term as Senate President Tuesday abd has served in the upper chamber since 2002.  He is often mentioned on the short list of Democratic candidates who could oppose Gov. Chris Christie in 2013 and the source familiar with his thinking said he is leaving his options open.

Last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker opened CoryPac, a federal PAC he said he planned to use to help fellow Democrats get elected.  But the PAC gave rise to speculation that Booker plans to run for Lautenberg's seat in 2014.

The Back Room

Passaic County Building and Construction Trades Council backs Sayegh in Paterson Mayor's race

The Passaic County Building and Construction Trades Council today endorsed Andre Sayegh for Mayor citing his effective leadership, efforts to combat crime, and promotion of business and overall economic development in the City of Paterson.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

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Op-Ed

The future of NJ Politics should not be politicians investigating politicians

By JON BRAMNICK Voices around the country agree with our concern that "bipartisan committee led by John Wisniewski is partisan." Below are observers who agree Wisneiwski's committee is not bipartisan: Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Democrats made a mistake... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

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