Volume 7/Issue 11

  • Gubernatorial Tidibits: Pre-Primary Edition
  • Race for Speaker's Seat Heats Up
  • NJEA PAC Endorses Republican Challenger to Senate President Sweeney

Gubernatorial Tidbits: Pre-Primary Edition

Tomorrow is primary election day in New Jersey.   Don’t forget to vote!  Here is a wrap up of recent developments in the governor’s race:

Latest Poll:  Former Ambassador Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno hold significant leads over their opponents, according to the Stockton University Poll.  The poll finds Ambassador Murphy receiving 34 percent support among those surveyed, with his closet challenger, former U.S Treasury Undersecretary Jim Johnson garnering 10 percent.  The Lt. Governor leads Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli by a 37% to 18% split.

Newspaper Endorsements:  Ambassador Murphy received the endorsement of the Bergen Record, the Star Ledger and the Philadelphia Inquirer, with the latter writing that he has a “wealth of executive experience, and offers practical solutions to problems that should never have been allowed to fester this long.”

Assemblyman Ciattarelli has received the backing of several of the state’s leading media publications.  The Bergen Record, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Star Ledger all endorsed the Assemblyman’s campaign, with the Ledger stating that it was “an easy call.”

Ambassador Murphy to Take Public Funding in General Election:  Ambassador Murphy recently announced that should he become the Democratic nominee for governor, he would take part in the State’s public financing system, which would cap his campaign’s spending for the general election campaign at $13.8 million.  He has already spent more than $20 million for his primary election effort, with more than $16 million coming from personal funding.

Race for Speaker’s Seat Heats Up

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin of Middlesex County recently announced that he intends to seek the Speaker’s position in the General Assembly for the 2018-19 session, challenging incumbent Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.  Assemblyman Coughlin released a list of supporters for his bid comprised of 26 incumbent legislators from Central and Southern New Jersey, as well as two Democratic Assembly candidates that that are likely to win their elections. If all are successful, they would provide the Assemblyman with enough votes to become the new Speaker.

Speaker Prieto has vowed to fight to retain his post.  He likely holds the support of several northern New Jersey legislators (though he has not publicly released a list) and the Assemblyman recently received the backing of several progressive interest group organizations. 

The actual caucus vote traditionally doesn’t take place until the first session day after Election Day.  The Assembly Democrats are expected to retain their majority.

NJEA PAC Endorses Republican Challenger to Senate President Sweeney

The State’s largest teacher’s union formally threw its support to Salem County Republican Chairman Fran Grenier on Friday. Mr. Grenier is challenging Senate President Steve Sweeney for the seat from the Third Legislative District.

The endorsement of the Republican candidate was not entirely unexpected, despite Mr. Grenier’s public support for President Trump, as the NJEA and the Senate President have endured longstanding policy and political differences.  Furthermore, Senator Sweeney requested last year that the State Attorney General and U.S. Attorney’s Office investigate actions by the NJEA regarding political contributions and legislation.   

Incoming NJEA President, Marie Blistan, a resident of the Senate President’s district, applauded the endorsement, stating “We look forward to working with Fran Grenier to restore trust, respect and fair treatment for our members in LD3 and across the state.”

The union’s super PAC, Garden State Forward, has already spent almost $318,000 on media, mailing and research efforts this year against Senator Sweeney