Sweeney Swims in Jersey City Waters

Insider NJ's Fred Snowflack provides an analysis of the ongoing NJ 2020 budget struggle, where Gov. Phil Murphy is withholding $235 million in spending until he is sure the state could pay for it. Senate President Steve Sweeney now wants state Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to comment on when the funds will be released.

It was a month ago when Steve Sweeney trekked up to Jersey City to see Jim McGreevey launch his mayoral campaign.

That was quite the obvious sign that the former Senate President was up to something.

He made it official Monday morning, announcing a run for governor via video, (That’s the norm these days and it allows a politician to make an announcement and not be encumbered by reporters asking questions; Tammy Murphy did the same thing with her U.S. Senate campaign).

Jersey City and Hudson County are at the opposite end of the state from Sweeney’s home territory of Gloucester County. But anyone running for governor needs to make some inroads in Hudson.

In his announcement video, Sweeney made a quick reference to bouncing back after facing a “setback.”

His latest “setback” was quite noteworthy – losing his LD-3 Senate seat in 2021 to a relative unknown, Ed Durr. Not only was Sweeney an incumbent, he was the leader of the Senate.

Things have changed.

Durr, himself, was beaten last month in his bid for re-election.

What’s more, Democrats ended up taking all six legislative seats in Districts 3 and 4. That was important because Republicans, who were brimming with confidence before Election Day, expected to do well in that region.

The Democratic wins suggest to some that south Jersey and by extension, political boss George Norcross – his official retirement notwithstanding – is once again relevant statewide.So, why not have their own gubernatorial candidate?

Naturally, this comes with some baggage.

Norcross is hardly universally loved in Democratic politics and a successful election last month or not, most of the state’s population is not in the south.

That – and the specter of going against Phil Murphy and his deep pockets – torpedoed any hopes Sweeney had to run for governor in 2017.

But assuming a primary campaign unfolds – Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has been in the race for months – expect some Dems to bring up an earlier election.

That would be Chris Christie’s landslide win of 2013. Christie was clearly going to win anyway, but his path was certainly helped by Democratic support he got from Norcross and other prominent Dems.

One is reminded of Barbara Buono’s Election Night comment after being swamped by Christie.

She said she got into the race as a long shot to take one for the team.

“The only problem? I realized too late, there was no team,” Buono said back in 2013.

Sure, this is ancient history, but nothing in politics goes away. Don’t be surprised if Sweeney’s often cozy relationship with Christie becomes a gubernatorial primary issue.

As for policy issues, Sweeney’s video highlighted what you would expect a Democratic candidate to highlight.

He noted his past support for such things as a higher minimum wage and paid family leave. He also said he wants a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights.

Sweeney also mentioned his support for marriage equality. However, the Legislature failed to act on that; the courts had to get involved.

Issues in primaries are nice, but, in truth, winning or losing comes down to making political alliances.

And that’s why Sweeney was in Jersey City last month.

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8 responses to “Sweeney Swims in Jersey City Waters”

  1. If NJ is that stupid to let this loser back in then they really are “Stuck on Stupid” He’s a vindictive, corrupt

  2. Sweeney is garbage. He hates teachers, police officers and firefighters. He is evil and needs to be defeated. Any Hudson County politician who backs a bum like Sweeney should be run out of town.

  3. We don’t need more corrupt practices from Sweeney as a Governor. He must be defeated in any gubernatorial election. The guy has done nothing but work with his hack Democrat-Socialist friends in Trenton to destroy New Jersey with the highest property, income, sales and gas taxes; the most small business regulations resulting in over 100,000 lost small businesses over the past several years, and corrupt politics and voting fraud. No!!! We don’t need a career corrupt politician. We don’t need any more Democrats. Time to shift the dynamic and vote in a Republican majority to fix this state.

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