No one is thinking about who is going to be Speaker or who is going to be Senate President. That’s because the Democrats are completely united and singularly focused on re-electing Jon Corzine.
I also have a bridge to sell you.
Of course discussions are underway, and deals are being considered. What I can reasonably conclude is that unlike what some have said, there is no “done deal.”
But here is a scenario that is taking shape…
With the retirement of Joe Roberts, a key leadership post has opened up in the Assembly. In the Senate, Steve Sweeney ( a south jersey guy ) is angling to challenge Dick Codey as Senate President. If he does so and wins, it would put a south jersey representative in a key leadership post. That means north jersey would want the other – in this case, Speaker.
Joe Cryan, Bonnie Watson Coleman and John Wisniewski have emerged as candidates for that position. But several sources say Democrats are coalescing around a compromise where Sweeney would be supported as Senate Prez and Cryan would be annoited Speaker.
North J powerbroker Steve Adubato is said to be eager for a change in the Senate and can get behind both Sweeney and Cryan. Sweeney for his part may not have the votes within the Democratic caucus. He is in discussions with key Republican Senators who would also like to see a change. Some Repubs say it can’t be any worse for them than it is now under Codey. Specifically, they are seeking a handful of commitee chairmanships or co-chairmanships…perhaps even a promise to get some of their bills read. Those ideas are on the table.
No matter what happens, no deal is perfect. Someone or somebodies are gonna be unhappy. For example, members of the black caucus might look unfavorably upon the selection of yet another two more white men to hold leadership positions. Actually, make that three since the Governor will be both white and male no matter who wins.
And what about Essex County? Can Adubato and the powers that be live with this? Probably. They will be owed one, after all. And there can also be some mutual understanding that Dems will support Cory Booker for Guv in 2013. Although, there is a strong belief that no one would commit to something like that this early.
But the word is that Norcross could live with this deal also.
Not only would there be a south jersey Dem way up high on the totem pole, but in June Governor Corzine signed an executive reorganization allowing Rowan University in affiliation with Cooper University Hospital to create a medical school. It will be located in Camden. Chairman of Cooper’s Board of Trustees is south jersey’s own George Norcross.
So, if that deal is made it will be hard in the foreseeable future for the south jersey coalition to feel neglected.