CD-3 Flashpoint: Conaway Versus Murphy

“My experience as a woman is relevant.”

So said Carol Murphy in a debate Tuesday night regarding the Democratic primary in CD-3.

The issue popped up when Murphy questioned her main opponent, Herb Conaway Jr., about critical remarks he reportedly made regarding “identity politics.”

Conaway didn’t back down.

He said his point was that, “one’s sex or one’s race should not be the principal driver of a campaign. It’s as simple as that.”

Conaway then said that he is “second to none” when it comes to supporting women’s rights.

Because race was mentioned, we will point out that Conaway is black.

That exchange was one of the few spicy moments in a debate sponsored by the NJ Globe, Rider University and On New Jersey.

The playing field is a congressional district ranging over at least parts of Burlington, Mercer and Monmouth counties. It is now represented by Andy Kim, who is giving up his seat to run for the Senate. Democrats hold a 58,000 vote advantage on the registration rolls.

At the moment, both Murphy and Conaway are Assembly members from LD-7.

Also in the debate was Joe Cohn, a lawyer who has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union. While he has never held elected office, Cohn suggested that was more of a plus than a minus.

Still, this seems to be a contest between Murphy and Conaway.

As is often the case with primaries, there is general agreement on the issues.

Virtually all Democratic candidates these days are pro-choice, support steps to combat a changing climate and condemn Donald Trump as an affront to democracy and common decency.

So, voters watching have to consider the nuances.

Timing is everything, they say, and the debate took place a day after the Legislature adopted a bill that will change the state’s public records law. Critics say the bill is a blow to transparency, because it will make it harder for average people to find out about their government.

Both Murphy and Conaway voted “no” on the bill. With an election upcoming, that was certainly good politics.

The candidates were asked about the “consequences” they think the bill’s supporters may face from voters.

Conaway said that’s up to the voters to decide, noting that they are in the “driver’s seat.”
As for Murphy, she said the true consequences will be felt down the road, asking, “How does this bill stand up to the test of time?”

It’s pretty tough to talk about Democratic politics in south Jersey without bringing up George Norcross.

The candidates were asked if they considered Norcross to be a good, or not so good, influence.

Murphy moved away from the question, saying that she is “very independent” from the doings in Camden County politics.

Conaway called Norcross a “force for good,” citing his work to expand the Cooper University Medical Center.

The spat about identity politics surfaced when Murphy asked Conaway about the subject, which the rules allowed.

Conaway, in turn, tried to ask Murphy about her alleged “flip-flopping” on her backing of Kim for Senate.

But wait. It turns out that according to the rules, he was supposed to ask a question of Cohn, not Murphy.

So this issue was not fully explored. But Murphy did say that her support for Kim has been consistent.







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One response to “CD-3 Flashpoint: Conaway Versus Murphy”

  1. Democratic Assemblymember Carol Murphy said Monday that she is considering running with first lady Tammy Murphy on the ballot in Monmouth County.

    The remarks from Murphy — who is not related to the first lady or Gov. Phil Murphy — came two days after both lost the Monmouth County Democratic convention. The loss there means that both will not have the so-called party line, where county-endorsed candidates appear more prominently on the primary ballot. “If it’s an offer, absolutely,” Carol Murphy said when asked by POLITICO if she would run “off the line” with Tammy Murphy in Monmouth County. “If it’s an option, I’ll be there with her.” -as reported by Dan Han for Politico on 2/12/24

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