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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Most South Jersey Dem chairs skip Murphy meeting

Attendees say meeting a muted affair

By Nikita Biryukov, August 08 2019 4:49 pm

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Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from Phil Swibinski at 6:54 p.m.

Most of South Jersey’s Democratic county chairs skipped a meeting between their colleagues and Gov. Phil Murphy Thursday afternoon.

Democratic chairs from Camden, Burlington, Atlantic, Gloucester, Salem and Cape May Counties skipped out on Thursday’s meeting, which more than one attendee described as a largely mundane affair.

Cumberland County Democratic Chairman Steve Erickson was the only South Jersey county leader to attend the meeting, which ran for roughly one hour.

Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones and Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe did not attend the meeting but sent representatives in their stead.

All of the state’s remaining Democratic county chairs attended the meeting.

“Today’s County Chairs meeting was both well attended and productive, giving Governor Murphy, Chairman Currie, Vice Chair Schaffer and our team the opportunity to speak directly with many of the Democratic leaders who are doing the important work of organizing voters and spreading our party’s message on the local level,” Democratic State Committee spokesman Phil Swibinski said in a statement.

Attendees who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the meeting focused on Murphy’s accomplishments over the first 20 months of his term and on policy priorities, like marijuana legalization and the millionaire’s tax, the governor has not yet been able to push through the legislature.

The meeting did not touch on Jones’ possible bid to unseat Democratic State Chairman John Currie. Jones has flirted with such a bid since announcing his interest in Currie’s position last December.

Currie declined to answer questions following the meeting.

The South Jersey chairs are largely allied with Senate President Steve Sweeney, with whom Murphy has repeatedly feuded over the first half of his term.

One attendee told the New Jersey Globe that Murphy expressed a desire for peace — or at least an armistice — with the senate president.

Sweeney has said much the same in the past, though the two have continued to trade barbs over the millionaire’s tax and tax incentives meted out by the Economic Development Authority.

“The meeting touched on many important topics, from recapping the unprecedented success the party has achieved in recent years, to planning for this Fall’s campaign for state and local offices, to introducing chairs to our new Executive Director Kevin Olasanoye, to discussing our delegate selection plan for the 2020 Democratic National Convention and much more,” Swibinski said. “We look forward to working together with all Democratic leaders to continue that record of success this November and beyond.”

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2 thoughts on “Most South Jersey Dem chairs skip Murphy meeting

  1. When will New Jerseyians wake up and vote MURPHY out. His own administration proves he is a loser by not attending his meeting. MURPHY single handedly destroying N.J..

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