A source with knowledge of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s thinking this evening affirmed to InsiderNJ that Murphy will announce his selection of Gurbir Grewal as the state’s next attorney general.
Murphy’s Office this evening sent out an email blast notifying the media of a “major personnel announcement” to take place at the Statehouse at 11 a.m. It was not immediately clear if the scheduled announcement related to Grewal, who beat out a pair of former prosecutors, Phil Sellinger and Ricardo Solano, for the AG job, first reported by InsiderNJ here.
The politics of Grewal – who would, of course, be subject to confirmation by the state Senate – at last put Bergen County in the inner circle of Murphy’s incipient administration.
Essex, Passaic, Bergen and Hudson all endorsed Murphy at the same time in 2016.
Essex got the LG pick: Lieutenant Governor-elect Sheila Oliver.
Hudson – weakened when South Jersey and Middlesex went around Speaker Vincent Prieto to cut a new leadership deal – got the Prieto offload at Sports and Exposition Authority.
Passaic received the re-upping of Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie as Democratic State Party Chairman.
Sources say Bergen was in line to get a seat on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a position that Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) tag-teamed on to give to Middlesex County Democratic Committee Chairman Kevin McCabe.
That appointment stung those allies of Bergen County Democratic Committee Chairman Lou Stellato, who had hoped on his appointment to that seat by a newly sworn-in Governor Murphy, or the appointment of one of Stellato’s allies.
The salvaging of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) as a statewide presence out of Hudson softened the blow internally of Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez not getting the AG’s job.
Democrats still had an Hispanic presence in a powerful position, sources said, a rational that other sources in the Latino community bitterly resented, insisting on the requirement of a Latino in a critical cabinet position, and hopeful of either Suarez or Solano at AG.
But Prieto to Sports and Expo, Menendez’s survival with a hung jury, and Middlesex’s assertion in lame duck, all strengthened the case for a Bergen selection. A Breakout election year by South Asian New Jerseyans – including history-making wins by Hoboken Mayor-elect Ravi Bhalla (a friend of Gerwel’s since childhood) and state Senator-elect Vin Gopal (D-11) – layered power on top of the move to make Gerwel the successor to sitting AG Chris Porrino.