Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski is undecided as to whether he will follow Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s (D-West Deptford) lead and try to cancel his predecessor’s redistricting commission picks.
Wisniewski wants to read the opinion Sweeney received from the Office of Legislative Services that gave him the go-ahead to remove Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins Jr., who former Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) appointed to the Congressional Redistricting Commission last month.
“I’m not ruling anything out. I’m not ruling anything in,” said Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), an attorney who is also an assemblyman. “I haven’t seen the opinion, so my habit in life is to know what I’m talking about before I make any pronouncements.”
In one of his last acts as state Democratic chairman, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) appointed political operative Maggie Moran – former Gov. Jon Corzine’s deputy chief of staff and campaign manager — to the Congressional Redistricting Commission, along with himself and state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-ridge) to the State Legisaltive Redistricting Commission.
That left Wisniewski with one pick for the congressional commission and three for the legislative commission.
“I’m examining, first of all, the names of all the folks who have either asked me or have been suggested for me as possible picks,” he said.
But even if Wisniewski does want to remove Cryan’s picks, he will face greater obstacles than Sweeney.
As the newly-elected assembly majority leader, Cryan has leverage over Wisniewski that the deposed Codey does not have over Sweeney. Cryan will have sway over the fate of Wisniewski’s proposed legislation in the assembly assembly, and he could make Wisniewski’s legislative efforts difficult if he feels snubbed.
Moreover, although some Democrats have made it clear that they do not want to have Moran on the commission, if Wisniewski removed her he would be picking a fight with her backer, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch).
“That’s really getting into the realm of speculation. We could speculate on a lot of things, and I’d rather not get into that,” said Wisniewski. “We all are colleagues and respect one another. Regardless of what happens at the end of the day, good will will prevail among the Democrats in the legislature.”