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

FDU Poll: 51% favor physician-assisted suicide bill

For the second time in three years, the New Jersey Legislature is considering a bill that would allow physician-assisted suicide for terminal patients with fewer than six months to live. The most recent statewide poll of New Jersey residents from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds a majority of New Jerseyans support the legislation, and are personally comfortable with ending one’s life with physician assistance if faced with a terminal illness.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 28th

  Winners and Losers: Week of July 21st Christopher Rodriguez Governor Chris Christie this week announced his selection of the CIA operative as New Jersey’s next Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP). (Politicker Staff) http://www.politickernj.com/77941/winners-and-losers-week-july-21st     Torres saddles up with Fulop and Baraka for...

Op-Ed

NJ Legislature must get behind statewide standard of responsible contracting

By Michael Capelli As a 30 year union carpenter, I learned first-hand how important it was to have the right tools for the job. Now as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the 30,000 men and women of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters I... Read More >

Contributors

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(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"A pain management surgeon, Roque said he estimates that the trial and initial loss of patients and other headaches may have personally cost him about $800,000. Ouch." - columnist Agustin Torres, the Political Insider

- The Jersey Journal

Poll

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