Even as the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) snow blows LD3 with anti-Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) mail, it continues to vigorously court voters on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, emphasizing Murphy commitments to fully fund pensions that the organization says Sweeney failed to honor.
While the teacher’s organization attempts to dislodge Sweeney in what will likely be the most expensive legislative race in New Jersey history, big, glossy NJEA mail pieces hit boxes this past weekend on behalf of Murphy.
NJEA Prez Marie Blistan has repeatedly argued that she doesn’t see a contradiction. One candidate is committed to “once again” fully funding the teacher’s pensions. The other failed to live up to the bargain, she says.
“First, and most importantly, NJEA is not an arm of the Democratic Party,” she explained last month in an InsiderNJ op-ed. “Our members endorse many Democrats, because those candidates’ positions align with their values and priorities. We are especially proud of our endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, whose steadfast support of educators and public education has energized our members to work tirelessly for his election in November. Because of his honestly, reliability and firm support of public education, Phil Murphy will have no better allies as Governor than the 200,000 members of NJEA.
“If Democrats are disappointed that our members did not endorse Steve Sweeney this year, they need to take another look at Sweeney’s record of broken promises and policy failures,” she added. “It was not hard for our members to see his failures. If the colleagues who signed the letter are honest with themselves, they have to admit they understand how Sweeney’s own actions led to this point.”
“This point” is another way of saying $4.4 million to date that Garden State Forward, NJEA’s PAC, has spent against Sweeney on behalf of Republican challenger Fran Grenier, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).