In a Sign of Changed Times, Murphy Lands in LD16 with Zwicker

Murphy and Zwicker.

Ah, the 16th District.

Once the home of Einstein, the place – like the rest of the planet – now sustains a half culture of huddled forms with COVID-19 masks over their faces, on this occasion packed into a local small business.

The 16th was also once a Republican district, where Jack Ciattarelli – now a candidate for governor – routinely attempted to delight Somerset suburban Republican crowds by referring to that liberal town supposedly out of sync with the rest of the 16th otherwise known as “the People’s Republic of Princeton.”

Now Ciattarelli’s trying to mount a statewide campaign for governor, a quixotic venture by the reckoning of the state’s political establishment in a state with one million more registered Democrats than Republicans, while Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) has his focus on the senate seat occupied by Ciattarelli’s retiring slate mate state Senator Kip Bateman (R-16).

“A champion for Nassau Street and many streets in his district,” said Murphy, moments before signing Small Business Relief Legislation ($15 million of earmarked federal dollars), joined by Senator Linda Greenstein, Zwicker, New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan and Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes.

Now facing former Congressman Mike Pappas in a district where Republicans suffered an appreciable landslide away from their party during the Trump years, Zwicker projected a sensible center perspective when he followed Murphy to the microphone.  “Small business is the essence,” said Zwicker, a nod to the district entire, who nonetheless found a way to throw a bone to his Princeton progressive base, too.

“Small business has a small carbon footprint,” noted the Princeton University plasma physicist.

“I love the carbon footprint,” gushed Murphy, before exhorting the assembled attendees to “tear into” the delicacy of choice here at Jammin’ Crepes.

The event really signified a change from 2017, when LD16 still wobbled between the two parties, and


Democrats here saw Murphy as a potential liability who could finish off Zwicker with a statewide candidacy Republicans tried to highlight as suburban-unfriendly. But Murphy ended up winning that race “by two touchdowns,” as he was fond of pointing out, and Zwicker more than survived, now openly embracing top-of-the-ticket presence Murphy with the GOP in apparent retreat and Ciattarelli making a hail Mary-style statewide attempt.

Pappas fired back in a statement.

“It’s been a year since the $2.4 Billion dollars of CARES Act funding has been available for distribution. I’m glad that more money is coming out, but it is unacceptable that it took so long.” said the Republican Senate candidate and former Congressman. “During the presser, NJDEA CEO Tim Sullivan mentioned that small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn, especially those owned by women and minorities. He was right – last year, over one third of New Jersey’s small businesses have had to close their doors for good, thanks in no small part due to Governor Murphy’s one-size-fits-all approach to the COVID-19 pandemic which has gone unchecked by Andrew Zwicker and his cohort in Trenton.”



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