Source: Coughlin Mobilizing Caucus Support to Supplant Prieto


Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-19) has the necessary votes in the caucus to bump off Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-32) as speaker, according to a source who said a petition circulated late Tuesday among Democratic assembly people.

The source told InsiderNJ that Coughlin will have 30 votes and will be intent on shutting down Prieto, who has already released his own alive-and-kicking statement of intent to run for reelection. Coughlin is said to have all of the caucus that doesn’t include Hudson, Passaic and Bergen counties.

And Essex.

A second source said he even has one vote in Bergen, and said Coughlin’s support right now is 29, not 30.

Essex was a late sticking point, with heart-rending back stories. There were assembly reps there who don’t want to oppose Prieto, and yet they are being peeled.

“29 with a few leans,” the second source told InsiderNJ, referring to committed Coughlin caucus support.

Of the remaining 23, five or six were wobbly as of Tuesday afternoon.

For months, Democrats affiliated with South Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) have told InsiderNJ that Sweeney’s support hinged on a deal that catapults Coughlin up to speaker. The germ of the deal requires the Middlesex senators giving the thumbs up on Sweeney in exchange for the South Jersey assembly people triggering their aye votes for Coughlin.

The assemblyman, a low-key lawyer from Woodbridge who got to the dance on the say-so of Mayor John McCormac, has already been traveling around the state to Democratic Party events as he kicks the tires on his support for speaker.

This story is developing.

More later.

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