There are 17 Republicans in the state senate, and it takes 21 votes to become Senate President. Republicans have said on the record that they will be voting unanimously as a bloc come January. But it’s what Repubs and insiders are willing to entertain privately that’s even more interesting.
Apparently, last week the Codey camp did reach out to Republican leader Tom Kean about a power sharing arrangement that would retain Codey as Prez. On the table were committee chairmanships ( not co-chairmanships but full chairs ) of about half the Senate’s committees. One insider said it would actually be more like a 60-40 split favoring the Dems.
Republicans are entertaining the offer. Of course they are…why wouldn’t they??!! But insiders say there is some resistance to getting into bed with Codey. Years of being in the minority under his reign have been tough and painful for the Repubs, and even left a bitter taste that some will not soon forget. There is even some distrust about whether Codey would uphold his end of the bargain.
That said, this is not about making friends. It’s about the Republicans doing what they can to ensure that some of their legislative priorities get addressed.
There is also some disagreement ( i know, shocker ) within the Republican party about how to proceed in this tricky environment. Some of the older guys ( who have memories of the way we were ) are angling to make a deal, even if it’s with Codey that would once again return them to the table. Some of the younger guys, particularly those who joined the club in 2007, are a bit more wary of making such a deal, but are certainly willing to entertain the possibility.
So, here is the really radical proposal. What if the Democrats can’t get it together. Meaning a handful of Senators are unhappy enough at the chasm within their own party that they are willing to throw the chamber to a bi-partisan split. that means a consensus candidate could emerge along the lines of Tom Kean.
Obviously, this is not a likely scenario, but you have some very powerful forces within the Democratic party pulling people from both ends. Kean ( assuming he were ready to deal ) might look like a sane alternative. Remember…if the Repubs can deliver a unified 17 votes, that could be the difference. It’s possible that not even Sweeney could deliver that many.
So, could Kean step in and fill the void?? That would be something, wouldn’t it?