NJ Politics Digest: Sweeney Targets Currie With Lame Duck Bill

Stephen Sweeney. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

New Jersey Democratic Party chairman John Currie all but squashed Senate President Steve Sweeney’s chances to be governor last year when he endorsed Governor-elect Phil Murphy. Now, Sweeney is seeking payback.

Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has introduced a bill that would effectively end Currie’s quest for the Passaic County clerk’s position and force him to step down as chairman of the county’s Board of Elections. But the lame duck legislation (S3618) doesn’t appear likely to move quickly in the Assembly, where Currie has an ally in Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson).

Sweeney and South Jersey power broker George Norcross are headlining a fundraiser next month to replenish the back account of New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow, the super PAC that spent big on Sweeney’s re-election.

And after settling his years-long dispute with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo is set to announce his re-election bid today.

Quote of the Day: “The elimination of the state and local tax deduction is like taking a baseball bat to the knees of our economy.” — Sen. Cory Booker.

After Costly Race, Norcross to Raise Funds for Sweeney Super PAC
Norcross, the South Jersey Democratic power broker, and his brother Phil Norcross, a prominent lobbyist, will be at the $2,500 per person fundraiser Jan. 9 at the Westin of Mount Laurel, according to an invitation obtained by Observer. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Sean Kennedy, the executive director of New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow, are attending too.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

DiVincenzo Preps for Monday Re-Election Announcement
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo will announce his re-election bid at a large press event on Monday, his chief of staff told Observer on Friday.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Murphy, Booker and Menendez Say GOP Tax Plan Would be ‘Disaster’ for NJ
New Jersey Democrats on Friday continued their weeks-long crusade to push back against the national Republican tax overhaul, a plan that New Jersey Policy Perspective estimates would up taxes for middle-class and low-income New Jersey families but cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Passaic County’s Currie in crosshairs of Sweeney’s ‘good government’ bill
At first blush, it reads like a dry, routine good government proposal that’s often dropped into the legislative hopper in the final weeks of a lame duck session. Yet, Senate bill 3618, which would prohibit party chairmen from serving as county clerk or on the county board of elections has another, unstated purpose: it takes direct aim at John Currie, the state and Passaic County Democratic chairman.
The Record Read more

Business advocate group spending big to fight $15 minimum wage
A recently formed group advocating for “thousands” of New Jersey businesses has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars since September fighting efforts to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15.
Politico Read more

Pols Play Musical Chairs, Trenton’s Building Project Gets Green Light
The construction of two new state government office buildings was given initial approval yesterday by an under-the-radar panel of lawmakers and executive-branch officials during a meeting that came about only after legislators from both parties were swapped in for colleagues, seemingly to make sure the proposal would be passed.
NJ Spotlight Read more

How low did it go for Murphy and Guadagno on Election Day?
The election fight between Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno never really caught fire with New Jersey voters, even though they were choosing their first new governor in eight years.
NJ.com Read more

Christie, Democrats team up to get allies in office before Murphy sworn in
In a late push to get friends, family members and allies into positions of power before the end of the Chris Christie administration next month, the state Senate last week confirmed more than 80 people nominated by the outgoing governor to serve as judges and to hold positions on New Jersey’s hundreds of boards and commissions.
The Record Read more

Sexual harassment allegations revealed as freeholders censure Curley
Monmouth County freeholders censured their member John Curley, accusing him of using derogatory words against female and homosexual employees and making comments referring to sexual acts.
Asbury Park Press Read more

As N.J. edges toward legalizing marijuana, a key character in the saga sits in jail
Ed Forchion, the most recognizable face of the marijuana legalization movement in New Jersey, views the state’s changing legal landscape and sees irony in it.
The Inquirer Read more

NJ property taxes — You could save by volunteering
The good news — an idea advancing in Trenton would help you reduce your property tax bill by up to $1,000 each year. The bad news — you’ll have to work for it, and the proposal applies only to New Jersey’s older residents.
NJ101.5 Read more

Al Sharpton gives Phil Murphy a hero’s welcome at New Hope Baptist Church
At New Hope Baptist Church in Elizabeth on Sunday parishioners criticized Christie and cheered his departure. Instead, they celebrated Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, who Al Sharpton lauded as “someone we can talk to” to the cheers and applause of an enthusiastic congregation.
NJ.com Read more

$7M cab leasing scheme leads to prison for ex-Hoboken council president
Former Hoboken City Council President Christopher Campos, who was convicted of helping orchestrate a complex–and illegal–livery cab financing scheme that drew in his wife, his cousin, and his brother, was sentenced Friday to 30 months in prison.
NJ.com Read more

A political star rises in Jersey City
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a political neophyte and Jersey City transplant pledging to reform city government takes on the political establishment and becomes the Downtown Jersey City councilman in an upset.
Jersey Journal Read more

Gottheimer’s GOP challengers taking shots at each other
While Frelinghuysen’s opponents are all taking shots at him, Gottheimer’s foes are tearing each other down. Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan and former Cresskill Councilman John McCann are the declared Republican candidates in the 5th District. They are currently duking it out in a GOP primary that has just gotten underway but is already as entertaining as it is nasty.
NJ Herald Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Sweeney Targets Currie With Lame Duck Bill