Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s growing discord with his own party continues to drag down his administration in New Jersey.
Politico is reporting that Murphy’s conflict with South New Jersey Democrat Party boss George Norcross “has turned into an open civil war” with Murphy launching “an unprecedented public attack on Norcross” by opening an inquiry into state tax incentive programs. This comes as Norcross has savaged Murphy in the press, calling him “politically incompetent” and a “liar” who thinks he is “the King of England.”
Tensions have also risen between Murphy and Democrat State Senate President Stephen Sweeney who attacked Murphy for running a “patronage pit” by hiring insiders and cronies for plum taxpayer-paid positions.
“Phil Murphy continues to show more interest in winning an intra-party Democrat power struggle than doing his job,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “While Murphy drags New Jersey backwards by imposing massive tax hikes while turning a blind eye to corruption, his focus on infighting instead of leading shows how badly he has failed working New Jersey families.”
Politico: Governor's feud with party boss rocks New Jersey politics
TRENTON — A long-simmering intraparty fight among Democrats in New Jersey has turned into an open civil war, pitting the state’s political novice governor against an old-school political boss who has ruled for more than two decades — and potentially reordering the political landscape in what’s become a national Democratic stronghold.
The protagonists come from very different wings of New Jersey’s political sphere: Gov. Phil Murphy, a 61-year-old former Goldman Sachs executive and Obama appointee who succeeded Republican Gov. Chris Christie nearly 18 months ago pledging to clean up New Jersey government, and George Norcross, a wealthy 63-year-old insurance executive who is the state’s most powerful unelected official — and whose political wrath is so feared he has taken on an almost mythical status in Jersey circles.
In a state where Democrats have a nearly one-million-voter advantage over Republicans and control two branches of government, the dispute is all that matters for the political class.
It threatens to derail major legislation — it’s being blamed for delivering the final blows to a bill that would have legalized marijuana — and could put a full stop on Murphy’s already-slowed progressive agenda. It could lead to a government shutdown when the state budget comes due next month. And virtually any other major bill is sure to face a Murphy-Norcross litmus test.
Politically, many Democrats will be forced to choose sides — Sens. Cory Booker, a presidential candidate, and Bob Menendez have already come to Norcross‘ defense. There are even suggestions of a possible primary challenge if Murphy, who’s never held elected office before, seeks a second term in 2021.