TRENTON – The two two big men butted into each other oratorically yesterday and after absorbing a rebuke from state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford, state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) of Oxford said he wasn’t surprised the Democrats dimmed him.
“I was pushing for my school funding plan, for fair school funding,” said Doherty, who opposes Abbott School funding and is expected not to support a refashioned budget that contains Constitutionally ordered Abbott funding. Doherty’s dig-in against Abbott means Gov. Chris Christie and the GOP would have to summon an upper house Democrat to support any budget the governor returns to the legislature.
Told repeatedly on Wednesday by Sweeney to stay on topic with the budget, Doherty said, “I take it as a compliment” that Democrats wanted to shut him down.
The maverick conservative senator who is expected to be a 2012 challenger to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said his opponents know the present schools funding formula punishes the suburbs.
“They know they’re getting peanuts, and that’s why they don’t want that debate going on,” Doherty said. “They didn’t want the press to find out there was an alternative plan.”