Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s and Senate President Steve Sweeney’s (D-3) behind the scenes clashes took another turn this morning with the Senate Majority Office’s posting of a good government bill simultaneously aimed at torturing Murphy’s choice for Democratic State Committee chairman.
Born out of Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie’s aborted quest to become the clerk of Passaic County, the full bill – co-authored by Sweeney and Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) – can be viewed here.
In short, “This bill prohibits a State, county, or municipal political party committee chair from serving as county clerk or member of a county board of elections. The purpose of the bill is to protect the integrity of the electoral process and of elections in this State. The bill would create accountability and restrict the opportunity for partisanship to influence essential electoral functions performed by county clerks and members of county boards of elections.”
The bill is in in the committee of Senator Jim Beach (D-6), a South Jersey ally of Sweeney.
Sweeney was irked in 2016 when Currie – whom the senate president had backed as a compromise choice for state party chairman – endorsed Murphy for governor instead of himself. Murphy and Currie further irritated the senate president when the pair failed to pull the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) off of its doomed bid to erase Sweeney from the senate in the most expensive legislative race of all time.
In lame duck, the senate president began enacting revenge by working with departing Governor Chris Christie to move through numerous appointments that Murphy wanted for himself on the other side of the New Year. When Murphy heartily participated in re-upping Currie as state party chairman, Sweeney stayed away from the event.
A source told InsiderNJ that the two men have had at least one very uncomfortable phone encounter, which devolved into a shouting match.