Veteran Trenton insider Pete Cammarano is in the mix to serve as chief of staff to Democrat Phil Murphy, should Murphy proceed as scheduled and beat Republican Kim Guadagno for the governorship on Nov. 7th.
The choice is met universally internally with praise, according to sources who spoke to InsiderNJ this week. One source said it was practically a done deal.
Of course, Murphy has to first win the election. The front-runner is set to campaign this evening in Paramus with former President Bill Clinton.
But the name of Cammarano buzzed more incessantly in Trenton than that of the world famous Arkansan.
Now a principal at the Trenton-based Cammarano, Layton & Bombardieri Partners, LLC (CLB Partners) government relations firm, Cammarano served as Chief of Staff to Acting Governor Dick Codey starting in 2004. Prior to that, he spent ten years working in the New Jersey State Senate as Codey’s Chief of Staff, and previously served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Insurance during the tenure of Governor Jim Florio, and as Deputy Director for United States Senator Frank Lautenberg’s 1994 re-election campaign.
Codey was an avid and early backer of Murphy. But Cammarano has his own considerable party and cross-the-aisle band width based on years of operating.
His name as a potential chief carries the weight of a Trenton-tunneling skill-set, which sets him apart from others whose names rattled earlier this year. Alternatives include Murphy Campaign Manager (and Essex County Freeholder) Brendan Gill and retiring state Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13)
Sources have muttered speculation about Gill serving early, and then departing; and spoken to the advantages of having a respected Republican like Kyrillos on the job. But Cammarano has the edge as a Trenton operative’s operative.
Sources say his front office presence – if indeed it goes in that direction – would especially serve Murphy, who has no experience in Trenton; and a staff that similarly largely stands out because of political – not deep state policy – experience. The Democratic nominee for governor could land in the Statehouse with an irritable South Jersey delegation led by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) on the other side of the governmental branch divide. Cammarano would know how to sooth those egos and have the ability to bring people to the same table, say sources.