Gov. Phil Murphy had a clear message for party-switching State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) on Monday: Welcome to the Democratic Party — now be a Democrat.
Three days since Addiego announced that she was switching parties, the former Republican returns to Trenton for her first voting session as a member of the Senate Democratic caucus.
While her party switch is a huge political victory for Senate President Steve Sweeney and South Jersey Democratic leader George Norcross, Democratic activists in her Burlington County-based legislative district are less than enthused by the presence of a right-of-center Republican as their new senator.
All eyes will be on Addiego today as the Senate votes on a measure that would increase the minimum wage to $15-per-hour. As a Republican member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, she had previously abstained on the measure.
The minimum wage vote is considered a core Democratic issue – the package has the backing of the legislative leadership and the governor. Anything less than a yes vote will make it exponentially more difficult for Addiego to make friends among her new Democratic base.