Gov. Phil Murphy personally called several county chairs this weekend to help repair possible leakage in support for the re-election of Democratic State Chairman John Currie, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
The Globe first reported on Saturday that a group of four women Democratic county chairs met privately last week to discuss backing a candidate other than Currie, but not necessarily LeRoy Jones, Jr., the Essex County Democratic Chairman who is expected to run in a contest set for late this year.
Several sources confirmed that the meeting between Amy DeGise of Hudson, Janice Mironov of Mercer, Arlene Quiñones Perez of Hunterdon and Katie Rotondi of Sussex took place during the state party’s annual conference in Atlantic City.
DeGise, Quiñones Perez and Rotondi had previously endorsed Currie, while Mironov said as recently as Thursday that she remained undecided.
Not long after the news of the meeting broke, unhappy Murphy political advisors began calling the county chairs in the meeting
Sources said that at least one Murphy staffer knew about the meeting but had not heard about the details from the participants.
Shortly after the Globe story broke, DeGise issued a statement affirming her previous endorsement and suggesting that her support of Currie has not wavered.
On Sunday, Quiñones Perez also issued a statement indicating her support for Murphy, but not mentioning Currie.
“The HCDC is committed to supporting the Governor’s decision regarding the NJ Democratic Party. I am committed to moving the Party forward for the betterment of New Jersey,” Quiñones Perez said. “Women will continue to lead the way alongside the Governor.”
The idea that it took Murphy aides almost a full day to get another statement from Quiñones Perez seemed to surprise some Democratic officials. The county chair is a partner at DeCotiis Fitzpatrick Cole and Giblin, a politically active law firm with several lucrative state government contracts.
“For a million dollars a year, they should have Arlene Quiñones Perez solidified,” one top Democratic leader said.
Sources close to Murphy insist that the meeting will have no impact on the already close race between Currie and Jones, saying the incumbent has not lost any support.