InsiderNJ’s Top 50 Elected Officials (RIGHT NOW!)

Governor Phil Murphy responds to criticism from former NJ Governor Chris Christie, whose administration's tax breaks through the NJEDA has be under investigation by a special task force established by Murphy's administration, saying that he is committed to moving on from Christie's "disastrous economic policies."
  1. Phil Murphy. Wobbled, yes, but it’s still the governorship of New Jersey, which comes with an attorney general pick.
Senate President Steve Sweeney appointed the members of the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies, which will review the NJEDA and its tax incentive programs, getting a true accounting of the aspects of each program and how these programs may be improved in the future.
Senate President Steve Sweeney appointed the members of the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies, which will review the NJEDA and its tax incentive programs, getting a true accounting of the aspects of each program and how these programs may be improved in the future.

2. Steve Sweeney. The veteran senate president from LD3 controls the state’s legislative agenda.


3. Cory Booker. The U.S. Senator has had trouble to date gaining traction in his 2020 presidential run, but yesterday’s Monmouth University Poll showed him moving (albeit slowly) in the right direction.


4. Bob Menendez. New Jersey’s senior senator has a strong base that begins in Hudson, Bergen and Essex counties. Scarred by scandal, he nonetheless won reelection last year by double digits with the support of the Democratic Party establishment.

Menendez and DiVincenzo.

5. Joe DiVincenzo. The Essex County Executive again demonstrated this week why he is a political (and governmental) force to be reckoned with.


6. Ras Baraka. Arguably Murphy’s most valuable ally among elected officials, the Newark Mayor must wrestle down the lead contamination crisis in Brick City to continue to be seen as effective.

Insider NJ brings back a video from January in which Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver discusses NJEDA tax incentives and how they have benefited the city of Camden.

7. Sheila Oliver. In the event that Murphy goes to a Democratic Presidential Cabinet, New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor is poised to make the leap to the governorship. She would have a strong position – mainly based on hometown support in Essex County – to run for the nomination.


8. Mikie Sherrill. The CD-11 Congresswoman won her seat fairly easily last year and has so far scared off any 2020 contenders. She’s always in conversations as a clear-the-field candidate for governor.

Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19).

9. Craig Coughlin. The Speaker of the General Assembly has received positive marks as a trains-on-time kind of guy.


10. Frank Pallone. In terms of Capitol Hill power, no one quite matches the CD-6 Congressman, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He still creates statewide buzz. His younger brother last year won the mayoralty in Long Branch in a blowout election.

11. Bill Pascrell. The CD-9 Congressman will ave a Democratic Primary in 2020, but the power he demonstrated in a 2012 Democratic contest catapulted the Patersonian into a rare stratosphere of North Jersey influence.

12. Loretta Weinberg. On the strength of her prosecution of Bridgegate and championing of progressive causes, the LD-37 senate Majority Leader is one of the few elected officials in the state who built a genuine legacy of achievement.

13. Ronald L. Rice. The veteran state senator from the Newark-based 28th District has a power edge on many others as a consequence of his investigative and research skill-set.

14. Nick Sacco. The LD32 state Senator is one of the state senate’s last lions, and the on-the-ground full-fledged boss among elected officials of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) chaired by Amy DeGise.

15. Tom DeGise. The Hudson County Executive survived last year’s onslaught with a combination of grace and political savoir faire. His daughter (see above) serves as the HCDO chair.

16. Bonnie Watson Coleman. Unbossed, the CD-12 Democratic Senator from Ewing (a former Democratic State Party chair) says whatever she wants whenever she wants.

17. Josh Gottheimer. He occupies a difficult battleground district, but he outpaces his peer with fundraising ability and currently sits atop $5.7 million, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

18. Nick Scutari. The chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee also serves as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

19. Joe Cryan. The veteran state senator (a former sheriff and former chair of the Democratic State Committee) is a human political Sgian-dubh in a conventional knife fight. With Union basically divided, he remains a key torque point player.

20. Chris Bollwage. The long-serving Elizabeth Mayor has stayed on his feet through often choppy political weather. A key player in the political direction of Union County.

21. Steven Fulop. The Jersey City Mayor has a strong local following.

22. Brian P. Stack. He lost the Hudson party chairmanship to DeGise in 2018 but still commands one of the most loyal bases (if not the most loyal) in the state.

23. Donald Payne, Jr. The CD-11 Congressman has the most Democratic district in the state and no apparent 2020 challenger to speak of (as of right now).

24. Paul Sarlo. The LD-36 chair of the Senate Budget Committee continues to wield influence.

25. Dick Codey. Unbeatable in his western-Essex County district, the former acting governor continues to exert influence, in part with key ties to Governor Murphy.

26. Vin Gopal. The LD-11 state Senator (last year’s winner of the year) is one of the state’s few legitimate rising stars.

27. Troy Singleton. Like Gopal, the LD-7 state Senator derives his power from being a next-generation player of consequence.

28. Joe Lagana. Keep an eye on him. The Paramus-centered state senator from LD-38 gives off a future senate prez vibe.

29. Chris Smith. There is a certain power that comes from being the only one of a kind. That’s the CD-4 Congressman from Hamilton, who, in the Trump era, is the last Republican House member from New Jersey. The dean of the NJ delegation.

30. Jeff Van Drew. Like Stack in Hudson, the CD-2 Congressman wields considerable power through a dedicated voting base. It’s a tough district for a Democrat that Van Drew controls through either running to his opponent’s right or exposing someone too far to the right as out of touch.

31. Tom Malinowski. The CD-7 Congressman commands respect on Capitol Hill as someone well schooled in foreign policy. Barring a meltdown by the Democrats at the top of the ticket, most insiders give the congressman a strong chance at 2020 reelection against Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-21) or another Republican.

32. Andy Kim. The CD-3 Congressman will have a battle on his hands next year in a district he barely won.

33. Donald Norcross. His brother received a tough going over during the EDA scandal and word is the CD-1 congressman will face a Democratic Primary next year, but he’s still connected to a party organization that routinely registers strong machine performance.

34. Andre Sayegh. The Mayor of Paterson has close ties to the governor and strong alliance-building capacities.

35. Brendan Gill. The President of the Essex County Freeholder Board derives his power as the political brain of Governor Murphy.

36. Joe Vitale. No one does public policy and good government legislation better than the 19th District senator, chair of the Senate Health Committee.

37. Benjie Wimberly. The 35th District Assemblyman from Paterson built a base as a legendary football coach and head of the city recreation department.

38. Gary Schaer. Doubt the 36th District Assemblyman’s power? Just ask Jeffrey Dye about that.

39. Lou Greenwald. The smart, ambitious and floor-savvy Assembly Majority Leader could run for governor in 2020. There’s buzz.

40. Albio Sires. The affable CD-8 Congressman (a former West New York Mayor) has strong ties to power player Menendez.

41. Nia Gill. The senate’s top inquisitor is someone who can (like Angelo Genova) prompt most to fold under questioning.

42. Bob Smith. The chair of the Senate Environmental Committee is regarded is one of the smartest lawmakers in Trenton.

43. Wilda Diaz. New Jersey’s only Latina Mayor turned heads when she backed progressive Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders over Booker for president.

44. John McCormac. The former state Treasure is the veteran Mayor of key town Woodbridge. Very close to Coughlin, Middlesex County Democratic Committee Chair Kevin McCabe, and home town Senator Vitale.

45. Julia Fahl. Yes, it’s little Lambertville, but the mayor last year toppled a nearly three-decade -ruling incumbent and as a respected fundraiser has statewide political ties.

46. Tony Vauss. The Mayor of Irvington has built respect through hands-on, visible constituent service.

47. Ralph Caputo. The 28th District Assemblyman is something most cannot say they are: his own man.

48. Adrian Mapp. The mayor of Plainfield won reelection in 2017 and exerted his influence to decide the Union County Democratic Committee chairmanship in favor of Scutari.

49. Reed Gusciora. The council is a mess, but the Mayor of Trenton – New Jersey’s first openly gay legislator when he served in LD15 – occupies the executive chair in the state’s capital city, winning against the odds in 2018.

50. Sheena Collum. She handily won reelection this year to the South Orange Village Presidency as another off-the-reservation progressive (baring comparison to Diaz and Fahl, see above).

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