In a stunning admission, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney has acknowledged signing a letter two years ago promising not to challenge Dick Codey for Senate Prez.
In 2007 Sweeney was elected Majority Leader within the Democratic Caucus. He defeated Paul Sarlo, who sources say had the strong backing of Codey.
According to Sweeney, Codey was furious that Sweeney had won. Codey then asked Sweeney to put a pledge in writing not to challenge him for the Senate Presidency. Sweeney says he thought it was a joke. However, he did write and sign the pledge. When asked Tuesday whether that meant he couldn’t challenge Codey for the top leadership spot when the new legislature convenes in 2010, Sweeney said “no,” because he dated the letter in 2007 and it didn’t mean “forever.”
Sweeney went on to say that Codey has treated him poorly over the last two years further negating any gentlemen’s agreement they may have had not lock horns in the future.
Although Sweeney has not announced publicly that he will challenge Codey, he has made no secret of his intentions.
Over the weekend Hudson County Senator Brian Stack threw his support behind Sweeney in the Democratic leadership battle. Stack had been considered “on the fence” by some observers, but now he has taken a side.
Governor Corzine has opted to stay out of the leadership struggle for now.