Lobbying Passaic, Sweeney reaches into LD 34 for Gill

Sources in Passaic County say Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) has stepped up efforts on behalf of state Sen. Nia Gill (D-34).

Sweeney has called Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie at least twice in recent days, trying to secure Currie’s support for Gill, sources say.

Gill is running for re-election in the LD 34 Democratic Primary against challenger Mark Alexander, a former state director for President Barack Obama.

Essex County Democratic Organization Chairman Phil Thigpen plans to meet with Gill next week.

Neither Thigpen nor Currie is overly impressed with Gill, who doesn’t attend their events unless it’s close to election time, according to sources.

But with an eye firmly fixed on 2014 when he’s scheduled to run for re-election, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo does not want to face the voters with the sin on his hands of having helped eliminate a female African American incumbent.

Hoping to land another tour of duty as Senate president, Sweeney likewise does not want to face caucus members having not helped the Gill cause. He’s also counting on Gill’s vote to restore him to the head of the chamber, sources say.

A source told PolitickerNJ.com that while he’s no fan of Gill’s, Currie intends to back her for the sake of peace. He doesn’t want to get in a needless firefight with Sweeney; nor does he intend to ruffle DiVincenzo.

Thigpen has been less eager to simply defuse the situation and wants to hear personally from Gill rather than simply make her re-election happen to satisfy DiVincenzo and Sweeney.

For his part, from the start Alexander has spoken of a bifurcated primary campaign: one for the line, and failing the line, one for the voters. 

Lobbying Passaic, Sweeney reaches into LD 34 for Gill