By desnuda | November 29th, 2005 - 3:55pm
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29-year-old Daniel Benson, who gave up his seat on the Hamilton Township Council to run for the State Assembly, will not seek an appointment to fill a vacant Council seat. The onetime rising star, who finished a surprising fourth in Hamilton, will take some time before resurrecting his political career. Benson says he will concentrate on his duties as Democratic Municipal Chairman to hold the Council seat recently vacated by Chuck Plumeri in a November 2006 Special Election. Benson also says he won't run for Council in 2007, though he reportedly hasn't ruled out running for another office. Democratic insiders say the top candidates to replace Plumeri, who is moving out of state, include: John Cimino, the son of former Assemblyman Anthony "Skip" Cimino; Tom Walls, who lost a bid for Council last month; and Wendy Sturgeon, a Hamilton School Board member.

Benson ran 9,000 votes behind Republican Bill Baroni in Hamilton, and trailed the two Middlesex County candidates, Republican Mike Paquette and Democrat Linda Greenstein, by 4,000 votes. Republicans won control of the Hamilton Township Council in the '05 election.

The defeat of Benson and the loss of three Democratic Council seats is bad news for another rising star, Mayor Glen Gilmore, who has been mentioned for higher office since his election in 1999. Few Democrats now believe Gilmore, who won re-election in 2003 with just 52% despite a lopsided warchest, can beat State Senator Peter Inverso or Baroni in 2007, and the recent trend of Hamilton toward the GOP is likely to mean a tough re-election battle for Gilmore in two years. One possible candidate for Mayor is Catherine DiCostanzo, who lost her bid for re-election as County Clerk by less than 200 votes countywide; her margin in Hamilton was over 7,000.

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran

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