Leadership PACs fly south for new session

A yet to be reported byproduct of last year’s leadership battles in both houses of the Legislature gives South Jersey control of both leadership PACs and the millions of dollars they dole out.

The Senate Democratic Majority PAC, which last year raised and spent more than $1 million on legislative elections, is controlled by Senate President Steve Sweeney.  That Sweeney controlled the PAC and not former Majority Leader Barbara Buono was said to have beeen a bone of contention between the two as Buono was criticized for providing only superficial aid to aspiring candidates, but never had control of the PAC that would have given her more juice.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg’s ascension to the role will likely do nothing to change the structure of the PAC as sources say Sweeney will maintain control.

In the Assembly, former Majority Leader Joe Cryan had control of that house’s leadership PAC and used it to to great effect, raising and spending more than $1 million last year and in the process nearly building enough good will to take control of the speakership.  The key word, however, is nearly.

Like Buono, Cryan was ousted from his role as majority leader, but unlike his counterpart in the Senate, his takedown transferred control of the PAC to his successor, South Jersey Assemblyman Lou Greenwald.

The fact that Greenwald and Sweeney are both allies of South Jersey power broker George Norcross has some North Jersey Democrats fretting that the spigot will be turned off for all but Norcross-endorsed candidates.

Update: Assembly sources dispute that Cryan had full control of the PAC.  Speaker Sheila Oliver was the signatory on all payments from the account, we’re told, though Cryan did the bulk of the fundraising.  

Leadership PACs fly south for new session