Assemblyman John McKeon’s (D-27) announcement this morning that he would not run for Congress in 2018 kicked up insider buzz about the possibility of the veteran lawmaker going to the administration of Phil Murphy, should the Democratic nominee prevail in November’s general election.
McKeon helms a lucrative law practice and would be hard pressed to pull away for anything short of state Attorney General, although sources continually mutter about his natural fit too for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The former chair of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee now serves as the vocal chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the perfect perch to audition for AG.
The trouble is McKeon is up against mild desperation mode within Murphy world for cabinet diversity, should the retired Goldman Sachs executive (and former Ambassador to Germany) glide across the finish line, as expected (he’s 27 points up on Republican Kim Guadagno). Hudson sources say Prosecutor Esther Suarez as AG would perfectly offset the anticipated Irish American leadership troika (Murphy guv, Steve Sweeney Senate President, Craig Coughlin Speaker), while boosting the depleted political capital of Hispanics and throwing a bone to a badly politically creaking Hague-ville.
But McKeon would almost require AG to offset a suffering private firm in his absence.
He’s a Murphy world regular, having portrayed Murphy’s rival John Wisniewski in Democratic Primary debate preparations and loyally stood with longtime Murphy backed Dick Codey, the 27th District’s state senator.