Source: Sweeney to Launch Gubernatorial Campaign in November

SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY. The ham-fisted ironworker has made good use of the statewide bully pulpit during Christie's prolonged absences, and by virtue of Democratic Party establishment ties is right now the frontrunner to succeed the sitting Republican governor.

SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY. The ham-fisted ironworker has made good use of the statewide bully pulpit during Christie’s prolonged absences, and by virtue of Democratic Party establishment ties is right now the frontrunner to succeed the sitting Republican governor.

The plan is for state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) to kick off his 2017 gubernatorial campaign after the presidential election and before the annual League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic city, a source told PolitickerNJ.

That could change, but that’s the latest kicked around time table for the burly South Jerseyan.

Jittery allies have concerns about Sweeney’s wars with the public sector unions, his perceived closeness to Governor Chris Christie, and shaky reach with northern allies, many of whom like him but doubt his capacity to transcend regional differences.

They like his Building Trades ties, his ability to herd cats, his knowledge of government, proven leadership prowess, and willingness to gallop around the state with a bullhorn in the frequent vacuum created by Governor Chris Christie’s absences.

As of right now, only former Goldman Sachs pooh-bah Phil Murphy is a declared 2017 gubernatorial candidate.