Currie, Running Again for State Party Chairmanship, Says Speaker Battle Still Not a Done Deal, Wants ‘Diversity’ in Legislative Leadership

ATLANTIC CITY – Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-32) continues to try to stop the apparent bloodletting caused by Assemblyman Craig Coughlin’s (D-19) Essex County barnstorming for legislative padding toward his assuming the speakership after the general election, and for his part, Democratic Stater Party Chairman John Currie agrees that Prieto shouldn’t yet raise the white flag.

“Yes,” Currie told InsiderNJ, when asked if he wants to again serve as chairman in the new year, “and I’ve said to Ambassador [Phil] Murphy, if he is fortunate enough to be elected, that I’d be glad to do it.”

Currie acknowledged that the Coughlina nd Prieto battle continues, but refused to say it reflects any larger party divide.

“I don’t think its fractured at all,” the state party chairman said. “The legislative fight is a small part of the party that will work itself out in due time. Our party’s energized.

“No,” he added, when asked if Coughlin had already licked Prieto. “It’s still going on. We have a diverse state. I respect every person running, but we need some kind of diversity in our top leadership. We need diversity in legislative leadership.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to Prieto insisted that the sitting speaker is “close” to being able to turn back Coughlin, but few in the drunken atmosphere of last night’s Carpenters party believed that as Coughlin imperiously strode the carpet. If Prieto was frantically working the phones behind the scenes it would be after two months of darkness on his end politically, one Prieto ally fumed in frustration, and with the encumbrance now of unpopular Prieto ally Joey Muniz shovleled onto the Horizon Board per Prieto’s directive.

“[Senate President Steve] Sweeney would have to lose to give Prieto any shot at this point,” one Prieto sympathizer told InsiderNJ.

“I totally support Steve Sweeney’s reelection – 100%,” Currie said.

But what about the New Jersey Education Association trying to banish him from Trenton?

“You’ll have to ask them,” said Currie, whose emphasis on the ethnic balance of power in legsialtive leadership nonetheless spoke volumes.

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