It would be foolish to deny at this point that sides are being drawn in the looming Senate leadership battle.
But after conversations with the Codey camp, there are a few more pieces of this that need to be pointed out.
To begin with, supposedly there was an agreement amongst the membership of the cordial club known as the state senate to retain current leadership for another two years. That might even be in writing, although I have not seen any document.
Codey takes issue with the notion that gaining a majority under his leadership can in any way be credited to George Norcross. After all, where did the money for those key races – specifically Whelan and Van Drew – come from? A Senate PAC controlled by Codey. Even though they were south jersey pickups.
Moreover, south jersey constitutes seven counties accounting for what Codey says is 22% of the state’s population and that’s simply not enough to dictate terms to the rest of the caucus. Norcross has parlayed his power into getting key leadership positions but when it comes to statewide races, south jersey dems have consistently been reminded that the votes are where the population is and that is north j. One need only to look at the current governor’s race and notice where the two candidates have been campaigning to reinforce that conclusion. Events are mostly scheduled in the heavily populated northern counties.
So where does that leave us? Well, it appears as though Senators Ray Lesniak and Barbara Buono are gonna be with Sweeney. And some have speculated that after Donald Norcross takes Joe Roberts’ old Assembly seat he’ll be moved into the Senate.
But here is the problem with that: Since 1995 the fifth district seat has been held by an African American. So, that could create problems within the black caucus and result in more votes for Codey.
We have now heard that Sacco is also with Codey and if Weinberg wins with the guv in November, Valerie Venieri Huttle is rumoured to be the person likely to take Weinberg’s Bergen County seat. Guess what? She is also likely with Codey.
Brian Stack is still reportedly up for grabs.
So, at the very least, this thing is far from over. Can a deal be struck that appeases all the factions within the Democratic party? maybe. But more than likely there will be some tussles first.