InsiderNJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down: Quijano Breaks Out



Latina Lawmakers

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) led her fellow Hispanic Statehouse colleagues to secure a tier of driver’s licenses for non-legal residents of New Jersey. A big legislative moment for Quijano, state Senator Tereza Ruiz, Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Senator Nellie Pou, and former Assemblywoman Marlene Caride.

Phil Murphy

The progressive Governor of New Jersey delivered on another key 2017 campaign promise when he signed into law historic legislation that allows 500,000 undocumented residents of New Jersey to obtain driver’s licenses. He also got four picks for the damaged EDA Board.

John Currie and LeRoy Jones

The chairs of Passaic and Essex counties respectively secured a power-sharing agreement, which angered South Jersey enough for South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross III and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) to call Jones on Thursday. GN3 tried to bully and got bullied by the Essex chairman, sources told InsiderNJ.

R. Bruce Land

Beaten by the Testa Team in November, the Vietnam veteran Assemblyman from Millville gave a manly and emotional farewell to the General Assembly this week during the finale of the last session day of the year.

Matt Anderson

The respected operative stepped up to run for the Democratic Committee seat left by a blown-up Bill Robinson, a derailment that mysteriously occurred in the lead-up to a state chairman’s fight resolution wherein every vote counted. In a county where his chair supported the candidacy of Jones, Robinson presumably would have followed suit.


A combination of multiple organization endorsements, the imminent entrance of Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett into the contest and AC Chair Mike Suleiman’s decision to keep his powder dry for the moment, appeared to give Montclair University Professor Brigid Harrison the edge in a developing CD-2 Democratic Primary. Amy Kennedy looked boxed out for the moment. But the strength of those Camden machine-connected organizations that backed defecting Van Drew will be tested – maybe with a vengeance – in 2020.


South Jersey Dems

Impeached President Donald J. Trump used U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s party switch to try to spin a win, while Norcross and Sweeney felt themselves frozen out of Jones’ deal with fellow northern county party chairman Currie.

Jason O’Donnell, Sudhan Thomas, John Cesaro, et all

How ironic and awful that the oratorically gifted and gutsy O’Donnell found himself facing bribery charges on the same week that the man who once supplanted him as party char, Currie, secured the state chairmanship again.

The Political Enemies of Phil Murphy

The presence of Democratic State Committeeperson Mary Dougherty (a Currie backer) in a corruption sweep after Democrats secured the chairmanship in a razor thin, every-vote-counts fight left insiders seeing the governor as more than merely the politically clumsy and affable buffoon of yore, when South Jersey ran the state. Murphy this week gave the impression of being able to weaponize the AG’s Office, which must have left Chris Christie feeling like that crestfallen guy on the old Survivor series who discovered that others could also hunt underwater with a spear in shark-infested waters.

Ronald J. DiMura

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal this week announced the indictment of the Middlesex Borough Mayor on charges of theft and official misconduct for allegedly stealing approximately $190,000 from various local political campaigns and using a local charity he runs to launder the money. DiMura later resigned from office in disgrace.

Wyatt Earp

“I think everyone just wants to be done with Wyatt at this point,” groaned a source, in reference to the Ocean County Democratic chair, who supposedly pulled a Van Drew (no, he didn’t change parties) when he was with one group (Currie) and then went with another (Jones). His sweetener for the maneuver included Marta Harrison for vice chair, but Somerset County Chair (and sitting vice chair) secured a re-up for her spot as part of deal between Currie and Jones.


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