State Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) called Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) a short time ago and gave him a message.
“I support him,” Vitale said of the sitting senate president, who earlier today announced his decision to not run for governor and to instead pursue a reelection bid for the senate presidency.
Vitale might have been senate president himself if a war had ensued in a post Sweeney universe. He had supporters. But it appears that Middlesex has positioned Assemblyman Craig Coughlin of Woodbridge for the speakership in exchange for support for another Sweeney term.
Another would-be challenger to Sweeney, state Senator Nick Scutari of Linden likewise issued a statement of support for Sweeney earlier today. Like Vitale and state Senator Paul Sarlo of Bergen, Scutari was also in conversations to possibly succeed Sweeney as senate president.