New Jersey’s ousted Senate president has eyes on new job: Governor



Steve Sweeney speaks to a gathering at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. 


New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is saying it out loud: He plans to run for governor in 2025.

Sweeney, an Ironworkers union leader who was defeated for reelection last month by Republican Ed Durr in one of the biggest political upsets in New Jersey history, told dozens of union leaders Tuesday that he plans to make a 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 New Jersey Globe. The source requested anonymity when discussing Sweeney’s remarks.

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

Context: A Democrat who has served as Senate president for the past 12 years, Sweeney had been making the rounds and discussing a future run for governor prior to his election loss — and even after his defeat did not give up the hope. He recently told reporters he plans to set up a think tank, which would give him a way to stay politically involved and keep his name in the news.

Sweeney had intended to run for governor in 2017, but was boxed out after his erstwhile chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, unexpectedly decided not to run and threw his support to Phil Murphy, who would go on to easily wrap up the nomination and general election.

A political heavyweight: The 62-year-old Sweeney is the longest-serving Senate president 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 pare back pension and health benefits for public workers, and a childhood friend of South Jersey Democraitc power broker George Norcross, who played a major role in supporting his political career.

For much of Murphy’s first term, Sweeney was his top adversary, fighting over corporate tax incentives and stymying the governor’s efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy. Their relationship thawed during the pandemic, and Sweeney ultimately worked with Murphy to increase the tax rate on incomes of over $1 million.

What’s next? A lot can change in four years. But for now, Sweeney’s next big political move will be his work on the state legislative redistricting commission, which is charged with drawing new boundaries for the Legislature by March.

Former Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli, who came within three points of ousting Murphy in November, announced after conceding that he plans to run again in four years.

Murphy, who will begin his second term next month, is banned from seeking a third consecutive term.

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in News and Politics 2021-12-15 03:26:29 -0800