Happy Friday! Let’s dive right in to this week’s two-part political potpourri!
Governor Phil Murphy’s social media/digital squad has become all the rage. You’ve probably heard the buzz!
Rolling Stone noticed and lavished praise on both Pearl Gabel, Murphy’s digital director and her lieutenant Megan Coyne. Their handiwork has people taking up New Jersey for all the right reasons. You can follow too at @NJGOV, the Garden State’s official Twitter account.
Recent tweets include reminders of NJ’s role in American Revolutionary War history (see pic) plus newsier things like updates on New Jersey’s minimum wage. which is now $11 for most workers.
When New Jersey native Ramy Youssef was crowned best actor in a TV series at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, @NJGOV was quick to congratulate and remind the world that “New Jersey IN THE HOUSE!”
Remember back former Governor Chris Christie was at the height of his powers? His communications team was a big reason for all that pre-Bridgegate prowess, relentlessly selling Christie’s agenda in a captivating, clickable way.
Ms Gabel and Ms Coyne posses the same je ne sais quoi that made Team Christie so darn good at their job. Because behind those gifs and all the dank memes, it’s about promoting New Jersey and selling Governor Murphy’s policy agenda.
The minimum wage just went up. Days later Murphy appropriated $9,5m to family planning clinics in New Jersey because the GOP still wants to control the outcome of every pregnancy in America. Murphy’s apparent hot streak includes wins on the political side too. He recently emerged victorious in a memorable showdown with the South Jersey democrats who wanted to install their own state party chairman.
Policy and political victories under his belt, and a brilliant, clever digital communications squad driving the debate, Governor Murphy is starting off 2020 in very good shape.
Senator Dawn Addiego, the politically malleable state lawmaker from Burlington County, wants to run for another 4 year term (paywall) but I’ll go ahead and predict it ain’t happening. Senator Addiego is up for reelection in November of 2021 alongside Governor Murphy and all 120 state lawmakers in Trenton. And even if Addiegio did actually make a go if it, she’d never survive a democratic primary. Spending a decade as a Chris Christie/NRA cheerleader before switching parties has that effect on the democratic party faithful.
But we’re getting ahead ourselves! Because by the time voters head to the polls in November of 2021, redistricting will have already changed the contours of every district in New Jersey.
Redistricting, by the way, happens after every census. It’s basically a once-a-decade opportunity for politically appointed partisans to redraft New Jersey’s political boundaries. Because before voters get to choose their politicians, the politicians choose their voters which is weird to say out loud. Especially in a state where so many voters are independent or non-aligned but I digress…
NJ’s 8th legislative district, which Senator Addiego currently represents, includes western Burlington Co. plus Hammonton in Atlantic and Pine Valley, Pine Hill, Waterford, and Berlin Borough in Camden Co.
When the mapmakers come, my crystal ball says Mount Laurel, home of Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, gets pulled into the 8th district while Hammonton gets carved out and tacked onto the newly minted GOP Senator Mike Testa Jr’s 1st legislative district. The GOP came up huge in Hammonton last Election Day where big margins kept the 8th district assembly seats in GOP hands. Incumbent Assemblyman Ryan Peters and Jean Stanfield (barely) repelled a well-funded, spirited challenge from the democrats and if you thought 2019 was close you ain’t seen nothing yet!
In a no-brainer, Democrats would run Carol Murphy instead of Dawn Addiego to represent a newly-reconfigured 8th, probably against Ryan Peters. That would set up an intriguing, juicy battle between two well-regarded siting assembly members gunning for the same Senate seat.
The redistricting process is coming. And that means a lot of powerful people frantically rowing in different directions. Are you ready for all that?
Jay Lassiter is an award-winning journalist and podcaster who spent the past 15 years working to keep the government out of your womb and also your bong. You can find him on Twitter @Jay_Lass.