RUTHERFORD – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) served in the assembly once, and yet with the blizzard of national news he wades through daily, he did a double take when InsiderNJ threw a Trenton question at him.
Against the backdrop of conversation about statehouse power and a North Jersey county party leadership contingent in Passaic, Bergen and Hudson all but frozen out of committee chairmanship talks and clinging to a very slender thread of relevance, does he believe Phil Murphy can succeed with the balance of legislative leadership that currently exists? In other words, can Murphy – if he is successful in the general election and becomes governor – can he abide a speakership and senate presidency controlled by the South Jersey-control room apparatus that symbiotically enjoyed power with Republican Governor Chris Christie?
The chairs now tethered to a life raft of political influence were three-quarters of that club that backed Muphy for governor in the pre-primary season and deoxygenated Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), who now looks ready to gavel in where he left off.
“I don’t know,” Pascrell said. “I think Murphy is taking a balanced approach. He’s not looking to shaft anybody, but I also think he’s looking to support people who are willing to stand on their own two feet.”
InsiderNJ pressed the congressional veteran on the subject, and he stressed the importance of Murphy closing strong on Election Day and producing a convincing – if not concussive – result.
“It’s not only winning but how much you win by,” Pascrell said. “It’s about sending a message.”