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The results of this year’s state chair's contest made for an apparent awkward game of musical chairs at the Democrats’ annual Super Bowl soiree in Puerto Rico.
Evidently, South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross III is so annoyed by Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo over the endorsements and state party fight, that it’s difficult to picture him going on the annual trip to Puerto Rico for the Super Bowl and not planning a counter trip to the Bahamas.
In fact, Norcross is not going to Puerto Rico.
InsiderNJ last week noted that DiVincenzo would back the reelection of Governor Phil Murphy and now he has, making more difficult any establishment-supported resistance to Murphy’s 2021 reelection efforts in a Democratic Primary. The endorsement comes in the aftermath of Murphy’s choice for state chair, John Currie, defeating South Jersey’s choice, LeRoy Jones, and Jones negotiating a peeace settlement with Currie, including his own succession of Currie, without the South.
The rupture represents a significant change from a year ago, when Politico offered this nugget in the immediate wake of the annual trip:
“At the opening dinner [in Puerto Rico] on Friday, Feb. 1, during which politicians delivered humorous speeches and send-ups, Democratic power broker George Norcross and several of his associates from South Jersey brought in poster-sized photos of prominent New Jersey leaders and politicians and set them up on tripod easels, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the event.
“One of the posters was a photo of Murphy, emblazoned with the text ‘Phony Phil Murphy,’ according to one of the sources. The other source recalled the text reading ‘Phony Phil.’ Among the other photos were Murphy’s top political adviser, Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill, and Pete Cammarano, the governor’s former chief of staff, the sources said.”
Following Murphy and Currie’s disruption of the South Jersey-led coup for Jones, DiVincenzo’s formal endorsement of the governor today consisted of this statement:
“I wanted to be one of the first people to publicly endorse Phil Murphy for re-election because of all that he has done for the people of New Jersey and, especially, Essex County. When we needed him the most, Governor Murphy joined with Essex and the City of Newark to help find a solution to the city’s lead water crisis. He has been supportive of our initiative to expand our government complex and so many other projects to improve our residents’ quality of life. He is a disciplined leader with strong principles, he follows through on his promises, and he does what he believes is the right thing for our people and future. I’m thrilled to support him for re-election, and I’ll work tirelessly to ensure he wins another term.”