Just five years after interning on Phil Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign, Livingston native Megan Coyne is on her way to the White House.
Coyne, one of the architects of New Jersey’s hugely successful Twitter account with an attitude departed last week as Murphy’s social media director to join the Biden administration.
“It’s an absolute dream come true to be joining the Office of Digital Strategy as Deputy Director of Platforms,” Coyne said on Twitter on Monday. “So excited for the journey ahead.”
Coyne and her boss at the time, Pearl Gabel, brought life and a quintessential New Jersey manner to a once dull state-run Twitter account that began to take off in 2019.
“Who lets New Jersey have a Twitter?” tweeted someone with 88 followers.
The reply – “Your mom” – had nearly a half-million likes and 85,000 retweets.
More than 439,000 followers watch the wit and sarcasm of New Jersey’s official Twitter account every day, which has garnered national attention.
“Megan Coyne has been an incredibly valuable member of our team, and her humor and wit will be greatly missed in our office,” said Murphy. “Her passion for our state—and fierce defense of Central Jersey—is unparalleled and as the person behind @NJGov, Megan’s voice has become synonymous with New Jersey. I wish her the best at the White House.”
As New Jersey’s social media tone setter, Coyne has played nearly every conceivable New Jersey card: the Sopranos, Springsteen and Bon Jovi. She has picked fights with other states, especially in defense of New Jersey’s pizza industry, and has treated the Taylor Ham vs. Pork Roll war fairly, even though she knows the real name is Taylor Ham.
Besides the snark, Coyne also played a governmental role managing Murphy’s official social media accounts. That gives her the right to wear a championship ring as a member of a team that made Murphy the first Democratic governor in 44 years to win re-election.
“Megan has played an indispensable role for Governor Murphy. Beyond growing the Governor’s social media presence with authenticity, sharpness, and wit, she has fully reimagined the role social media can play in government,” said Murphy’s former communications director, Mahen Gunaratna, who hired her. “It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to watch Megan grow in her career and work her way up from intern to Social Media Director. I’m thrilled for her to take this next step as Deputy Director of Platforms at the White House — she’s earned it.”
Coyne served as president of the College Democrats of New Jersey while attending Rutgers University and worked as a communications intern in the governor’s office for fifteen months in 2018 and 2019. Murphy hired her straight out of college to work on his communications staff.
Dan Bryan, Murphy’s former senior advisor, also praised Coyne’s work in Trenton.
“Megan Coyne will go down in New Jersey history as the creator and operator of @NJGov, social accounts that brought hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans in with jokes and memes, only to follow them up with critical information about everything from winter storms to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bryan said. “It’s no surprise to see the White House tap Megan for their digital team, and I can’t wait to see the great work she’ll do on behalf of the Biden administration.”
Coyne is the first Livingston High School graduate to take the Statehouse route to the White House since Robert H. Grady, who served as Gov. Thomas Kean’s communications director, became the Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George H.W. Bush in 1989 after a brief stop as a speechwriter and policy advisor for Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign.
In 2016, another Livingston native, Chris Christie, sought the Republican nomination for president, but withdrew after a dismal 7% showing in New Hampshire.