TRENTON – Salem County GOP Chairman Fran Greiner is running against Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) – and he expects key union backing, including support from the state’s largest teachers’ union and other public sector outfits.
In answer to whether he intends to receive the political support of the state New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which has warred with Sweeney, “I hope to get everyone’s support,” Greiner told InsiderNJ at the state Division of Elections as he dropped off his petition signatures.
Later he told InsiderNJ with confidence, “I’m very much looking forward to talking to them and I expect to get their support,” in reference to the NJEA.
A councilman from Woodstown who became chair of the Salem GOP in 2013, Greiner said he intends to run with a full slate of challengers to Team Sweeney. “I am not a place holder,” the senate candidate said, when InsiderNJ informed him that a rumor is circulating that he won’t run to the finish line of a general election.
For more on Greiner, a union worker at the Salem Nuclear Power Plant, please go here.
InsiderNJ was the first to report on Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean’s (R-21) flirtations with the NJEA, and Greiner today said nothing to suggest that he is not up to running or seeking to run with their support. A member of his team said he seeks broad support in his effort to unseat the senate president.
Given the NJEA’s aversion to Sweeney and Kean’s longtime interest in knocking off his nemesis, or at least in keeping him pinned down financially so the GOP can clip the resources of Republicans in battleground districts, the question of who will run against Sweeney has drawn considerable speculation in the past few weeks.
Kean’s decision to back a serious challenger to Sweeney in 2013 helped broaden his rift with Governor Chris Christie, who didn’t campaign with Nikki Trunk in LD3 as a way of protecting his cross-the-aisle alliance with the Democrats’ senate president, infuriating Kean.
Greiner told InsiderNJ that he has already spoken with Kean.
He will run on a Republican ticket with Phillip Donohue of Alloway (pictured, above left, with Greiner) and Linwood Donelson of Salem. Sweeney is running for reelection with his Democratic colleagues, Assemblyman John Burzichelli and Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro.