In the midst of an appointments blitz by Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), Senator Dick Codey (D-27) rose in the caucus room and pulled Sweeney aside. The two men went and conferred in private and when they returned, neither looked happy.
They looked like they had just exchanged words.
A source in the caucus room speculated that Codey had told Sweeney what he thought of the Democratic senator and lame duck governor ramrodding mutually-benefiting appointments prior to the swearing-in of Governor-elect Phil Murphy.
Codey is Murphy’s staunchest ally in the senate, the man who helped him in the early political going of the 2017 gubernatorial campaign, who has the deepest political friendship with the governor-elect, going back to when then-Governor Codey appointed Murphy to lead the pensions and benefits task force.
But Sweeney’s stout leadership of the senate caucus – built on multiple soothed relationships and backed up by South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross III – makes it hard for Murphy and Codey – dethroned from the senate presidency by Sweeney in 2009 – to convince Democrats to oppose the sitting senate president.
“This is unheard of,” a legislative source told InsiderNJ. “This is a Democratic senate working with a Republican governor to undo the will of an incoming Democratic governor. Murphy doesn’t know what hit him.”
The senate can’t buck Sweeney because he’s too strong, the source said; and to date Murphy has been unable to exercise the intimidating powers of the New Jersey governorship as the appointments schedule proceeds. But Codey, the source said, continued to demonstrate early – even if in vain at this point in terms of creating a legislative alternative – the close ties he has to Murphy.