Saturday, January 22 2022




Steve Sweeney speaks at rally at Statehouse in Trenton, NJ | Mel Evans / AP Photo

By MATT FRIEDMAN

Update


New Jersey Senate Speaker Steve Sweeney says it out loud: he plans to run for governor in 2025.

Sweeney, an Ironworkers union leader who was defeated for re-election last month by Republican Ed Durr in one of the biggest political upheavals in New Jersey history, told dozens of union leaders on Tuesday that he planned to run for governor in four years.

A source in the room at the New Jersey State Pipe Trades Association convention in Atlantic City confirmed Sweeney’s announcement, which was first reported by the New Jersey Globe. The source requested anonymity when discussing Sweeney’s remarks.

Sweeney, who will step down next month, did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

The context: A Democrat who served as Senate Speaker for the past 12 years, Sweeney had toured and discussed a future gubernatorial candidacy before his electoral defeat – and even after his defeat he did not give up hope. He recently told reporters that he plans to start a think tank, which would give him a way to stay involved politically and keep his name in the news.

Sweeney intended to run for governor in 2017, but was eliminated after his former main rival for the Democratic nomination, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, unexpectedly decided not to run and gave his support to Phil Murphy, who would end easily. until the nomination and general elections.

A political heavyweight: Sweeney, 62, is the longest-serving Senate speaker in New Jersey history, wielding political power surpassed only by the governor. He was a key ally of former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, working with him to cut pension and health benefits for public servants, and a childhood friend of South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross, who played a major role in supporting his political career. .

For much of Murphy’s first term, Sweeney was his main opponent, battling tax incentives for businesses and thwarting the governor’s efforts to raise taxes for the wealthy. Their relationship thawed during the pandemic, and Sweeney ultimately worked with Murphy to raise the income tax rate to over $ 1 million.

And after? A lot can change in four years. But for now, Sweeney’s next big political move will be his work on the state’s Legislative Redistribution Commission, which is tasked with drawing new boundaries for the legislature by March.

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli, who was three points away from Murphy’s ouster in November, announced after conceding that he planned to run again in four years.

Murphy, who will begin his second term next month, is barred from running for a third consecutive term.


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