Sweeney Commands His Forces in South Jersey, as Murphy Swings into Cherry Hill

Sweeney and Mullen

It wasn’t as much of a Braveheart battle scene reenactment as four years ago.

It didn’t have to be.

In 2017, Sweeney was behind a flaming Building Trades battering ram successfully resisting – with his own prodigious cash connections – a multi-million dollar effort by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) to dislodge him from office.

Today, they didn’t require the blue face paint.

Sweeney and the NJEA are (tentatively, see below) friends, courtesy of the senate president’s support for the public sector labor organization’s coveted relief from Chapter 78.

Moreover, Sweeney and newly emergent GOP power player state Senator Mike Testa (R-1) appear to have forged a detente in the aftermath of Testa’s 2019 dismantling of Bob Andrezjczak.

Sweeney doesn’t take out Testa, and Testa doesn’t take out Sweeney.

So LD3 lacked drama.

But that didn’t stop New Jersey Building Trades President Bill Mullen from giving a stemwinder on Sweeney’s behalf this morning in the heart of Sweeney country.

Noticeably absent from the event was Governor Phil Murphy, who barnstormed South Jersey this morning with a grip and grin appearance at the Camden County Democratic Organization’s Cherry Hill location.

Four years ago, his Election Day appearance alongside Sweeney prompted some grunts in the crowd, who nonetheless behaved themselves on signals from Mullen and the senate president.

No one down there was happy that Murphy hadn’t thrown himself in harm’s way to prevent the NJEA – one of his major supporters – from attempting to rid the Third District of Sweeney.

But they lived with it, and it’s a significant development this year that the NJEA and Building Trades – and their associative PACs – aren’t killing each other.

That could change, of course – and will.

At their Building Trades Conference last month, Mullen routinely publicly backed a reaffirmation of Sweeney’s Path to Progress, which in part came about as the senate president’s ongoing efforts to rein in public sector spending, not a beloved NJEA policy point.

The fact that Murphy decided not to hoist himself up on one of Assemblyman John Burzichelli’s vintage fire trucks alongside Sweeney and Mullen perhaps signified the governor’s wariness about the future following this election.

Or maybe the former Harvard actor was merely put out that he couldn’t apply some face paint to look like Mel Gibson.

Sweeney and Murphy
2017 memories: Sweeney and Murphy in (kind of?) happier times.
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