Balles Poised for LD2 Senate

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Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles Expected to Officially Announce LD2 Senate Run in February

By Irwin M. Fletcher | The Save Jersey Blog

Frank BallesThere are, officially, no Republican candidates in LD2 to run against incumbent Democrat Jim Whelan at the moment.

Loyal Save Jersey readers will recall that LD2 was one of two districts in 2011 where pundits agreed a Senate seat could switch hands. That did not happen, Jim Whelan defeated (now former) Assemblyman Vince Polistina, while Republicans John Amodeo and Chris Brown took the Assembly seats, and the status quo was maintained.

Amodeo and Brown announced they were running for reelection late last month. It is assumed that Whelan will be running again. Serial Democrat candidate and glutton for electoral punishment Gary Stein will be seeking one of the challengers for Assembly (again), and there are several names being floated around for the bottom of the Dem ticket.

But what about the top of the Republican ticket? Well, late last year, Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles filed the initial paperwork for a run with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, indicating that he was testing the waters for a run.

And my sources say he is about to make it official any day now…

I have two two sources both confirming Balles will make it official and soon. One source has told me Balles will officially announce his candidacy on February 12, Lincoln’s Birthday. Another source told me that Balles will officially announce his candidacy on February 18, President’s Day.  Guess I’ll find out real soon which source is better.

Many believe Balles as a candidate gives the GOP a real good chance at unseating Whelan. Balles was elected Sheriff in 2008; he beat a Democratic incumbent by 7% in a year Obama was at the top of the ticket. Then in 2011, he won re-election with 61% of the vote, indicating a clear upswing in his popularity in Atlantic County. Contrast this record to that of Jim Whelan, who won 57% of the vote in 2007 and 54% in 2011, indicating his popularity is on the downswing in LD2.

Vince Polistina had also filed the initial paperwork with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, but the scuttlebutt in Atlantic County is that if Balles seeks the nomination, Polistina will not challenge him in a primary.

So it looks like the GOP has a ticket in LD2.

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