Officially, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney has not said whether or not he will challenge Dick Codey for the Senate Presidency.
But unofficially, I am hearing from sources that he has locked up 14 votes within the caucus and that should do the trick if it holds. 12 votes are needed to win. Some have reported ( including me ) that discussions are underway Between the Sweeney faction and Republicans.
We can confirm that discussions took place, but Sweeney may not need a coalition with Senate Repubs to make it final. Republicans have also said they are united. And sources say all that means is that they will not break ranks to make a deal with Codey.
Codey of course, is as shrewd as they come. He says the votes for him will be there, although he questions why a vote would even be taken since the Senate is not up for re-election this year. And by the way, only the Senate Prez can call that vote.
Meantime, Codey is making his case to stay in power. He became Minority Leader in 1998. Under his stewardship, the Dems forced a co-presidency with Republicans four years later. In 2003 Democrats pulled ahead with key wins from Ellen Karcher and Fred Madden.
Then of course, there were the victories in 2007 which gave the Dems a solid 23 -17 majority.
But here is the thing. Where were those gains? Karcher lost her next election. That means that the key pick-ups for The Dems were in South Jersey. Fred Madden, Jim Whelan and Jeff Van Drew are the difference. and all three are from south j. One could draw the conclusion that George Norcross, Steve Sweeney and others are more responsible for that majority than even Codey.
What it certainly shows is that the Democratic caucus is changing and evolving. And advocates of changing leadership say the upper echelon should reflect that.