The dome buzz about veteran Trenton insider Peter Cammarano as Phil Murphy’s chief of staff inevitably sparked a reappraisal of what might have been if indeed Murphy Campaign Manager Brendan Gill undertook the job – and a consideration of Gill’s future out from under the wing of the likely Nov. 7th victor.
The immediate correlative that came to mind for Gill was Mike DuHaime, the campaign strategist for Gov. Chris Christie, who eschewed front office life when Christie assumed the 2010 oath of office, to go and build out his own highly successful government affairs firm, Mercury.
Gill has a firm, BGill Group, which can only be viewed at this point – if Cammarano does indeed transpire as COS – as a leading outfit, based on power connectivity alone. Certainly it will bear the hottest brand in the state based on a Murphy win.
Still an Essex County Freeholder, Gill developed unique governmental and political skills as state director for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), particularly in the latter years of Senator Lautenberg’s life, sometimes almost seemingly occupying the captain’s chair on the bridge of the Enterprise on momentous occasions. That experience, coupled with Gill’s common refrain of “I like service” on the subject of elected officialdom, inevitably make him a possible future large-than-freeholder Democratic Party option.
But three years of being glued to Murphy – notoriously a guy who goes to every or almost every event – as Gill builds his own young family probably contributed to his serious consideration of whether he wanted to commit to more 24-7 body double duty, this time in the salt mines of Trenton. Too, Cammarano has a specifically Trenton skillset that Gill, a relationship builder who could harvest whole sections of Bergen and Essex for Murphy in the pre-primary period, lacks. Moreover, he has federal contacts and reach that could prove politically advantageous to Murphy, and staying on the outside of the capital hijinks – as DuHaime did in building Christie out nationally – conceivably has an upside not only for himself but for pal Murphy.