Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton), who is rumored to be considering a bid for Mercer County Executive in 2023, today declined to answer a question on his future political plans.
Benson, a former county freeholder, has served in the Assembly since 2012, and redistricting kept his 14th district seat almost entirely intact. But with State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) not looking like she’ll retire anytime soon, there has been speculation that Benson will head back to county government instead of waiting to move up in state government.
That could put him on a collision course with current County Executive Brian Hughes, the son of former Gov. Richard Hughes, who first took office in 2004. Hughes said last week that he is preparing to run for re-election to a sixth term, though he insisted he hasn’t definitively made up his mind.
Hughes has long been at odds with Mercer Democratic chairwoman Janice Mironov, and he wouldn’t necessarily get the county line if he does run again. But just yesterday, Hughes held a meeting with county Democrats in an effort to “talk it out” and end the “intraparty tugs of war” after several years of both public and private discord.
“In order for Democrats to continue to lead our county, nation, state, and towns against the threat of the GOP, we must spend time with one another, listen to one another, and consider the variety of perspectives that we represent,” Hughes said in a statement released today.
Just about every prominent Mercer Democrat was listed as having attended the meeting, including Mironov, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), and four of Mercer County’s five state legislators.
The one exception: Dan Benson.