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They were in dialogue with each other, the teams connected to Democratic State Party Chairman John Currie and Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones, trying to figure out where this was going as the party bears down on December and the usual time for a convention to pick the chairman.
Was it going nuclear?
Or could they negotiate a deal?
The first option would mean casaulties, starting with the reputations of both principals.
Even the winner would be the charred remains of the man formally known as John or Leroy.
There was already word of a delivered package.
And the friendly follow up: We really don’t need to go there, do we?
No, they don’t, was the implication.
So – as both Murphy and his minions continue to tell everyone how great the Demorats were on Election Night (presumably to sell not only himself but his sitting party chair) and Sweeney tells everyone how dreadful it was (presumably to gain traction to make the cse for new party leadership) how do they resolve what appears to be a tie?
Leaving Ocean out for the moment (Chairman Wyatt Earp is a Building Trades guy, said to be leaning Murphy-Currie but at what price within the brotherhood?), a pencilled tally has 49 votes for Jones and 44 for Currie, but there are still five or six wildcards, which could turn the contest.
The late screws could be put to people, too.
So those numbers are not hard, especially with the principals nose to nose in the backrooms.
The ongoing talks to this point include a pooh-bah power share option, and these are fluid, but possibilities in that regard include an honorary position for Jones at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.
Of course, no one cares about that, least of all Jones.
It was slapped aside, or laughed off.
The real issue here is 2021 redistricting.
Given the sulfuric relations between the Governor Phil Murphy/Currie wing of the Democratic Party and the Jones/Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3)/George Norcross wing, leaders worry about redistricting members consigning them to no man’s land. If Currie and Murphy pick redistricing members, what would give Sweeney (or even Speaker Craig Coughlin) and the other people within that network, confidence that a key town in their districts wouldn’t disappear, leaving them in Girgenti-land jeopardy?
One could say the same would go for a Jones pick, except that Murphy doesn’t have the deep relationships within the caucus that make for an obvious imperiled person who would live or die on the Murphy side of the divide. There are handfuls of people, of course, state Senator Nick sacco (D-32) comes to mind.
But Jones, more than proffered Henry VIII trappings for the convention, wants picks for that commission.
So do the paeople who make up the political class in this state, who guess they will be here long after Murphy has retired to his vlla in Italy.
Any power share would have to give him – and the netwwork, you know the names, those picks.
Amid suggestions among sources that an announcement was imminent, Jones said nothing was formal; he was still strongly considering.
An announcement would trigger a war.
And they were still talking.
Maybe Currie serves to the end of the year and then Jones takes over this time next year?
That was a kicked around option.
Currie needed picks on the commish too.
It was very fluid.
They were trying to settle it before the convention, by avoiding a war.
The trouble with war too, especially if it severely compromised Jones, is that Murphy has to walk through Essex County to get to reelection, and his political minder, Brendan Gill, is a freeholder, who depends on the largesse of the sitting party chairman. A war with Jones would be a war with Essex, probably the last thing the governor would want at a time when Murphy would be trying to cohere the party organizations toward his reelection.
“And with what happened Tuesday,” said an Esex source, noting the appearance of a resurgent Republican Party in key areas, as Republican State Party Chair Doug Steinhardt, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden paw at 2021 turf.
- Brendan Gill
- Democratic State Committee
- Doug Steinhardt
- Essex County Democrats
- George Norcross
- Jack Ciattarelli
- John Currie
- John Girgenti
- Leory Jones
- Monmouth County GOP
- NJ Democrats
- Ocean County Democrats
- Phil Murphy
- Shaun Golden
- Steve Sweeney
- Wyatt Earp
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