Red Bank resident Philip Murphy, the Democratic National Committee Finance Chairman and a rival of Jon Corzine when they were in senior management at Goldman Sachs, is the "leading contender" to become the next U.S. Ambassador to Germany, according to a Washington Post report published today. Murphy was a senior director and management committee member at Goldman and served as head of the firm's German division. During a 1999 coup that led to Corzine's ouster as Chairman – and ultimately his decision to run for the U.S. Senate – Murphy was on the opposing side. In 2005, Murphy tweaked Corzine a little when he became a policy advisor to then-Gov. Richard Codey, who was still mulling a bid for the 2005 Democratic nomination for Governor against Corzine.
If President Obama nominates Murphy and if he is confirmed by the Senate, he would become the top ranking diplomat from New Jersey. Clifford Sobel, who served as Ambassador to the Netherlands and to Brazil under President Bush, is expected to return to New Jersey after the Senate confirms Obama's nomination of Thomas Shannon, a career diplomat, as the new Ambassador to Brazil.