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State Sen. Ronald L. Rice. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe.

Rice says he’s still with Murphy

Senator stops short of backing governor for 2nd term

By Nikita Biryukov, June 27 2019 12:45 pm

State Sen. Ronald Rice on Thursday said he was sticking with the Gov. Phil Murphy, though he stopped short of backing the governor for a second term.

“The governor has some years left before we even get into that. We’ve got to get past these federal elections first. I’ve got to figure out who the president’s going to be before I even talk about a governor,” Rice said. “I’m still with the governor from day one. I still stand with my governor. We just disagree on the social justice issue as it impacts black and brown communities in particular, and I still believe this is about money, not social justice.”

Murphy’s not up for re-election until November 2021, some two and a half years from now.

Over his first roughly year and a half in office, Murphy has frequently feuded with the legislature’s Democratic leadership.

Their most recent spat centers around elements of the budget, and that feud took a nasty turn yesterday after Murphy said legislative leaders were siding with millionaires, opioid manufacturers and the gun lobby over the state’s residents and Senate President Steve Sweeney attacked Murphy over what he called budget “tantrums.”

The governor has held a press conference on the budget every day this week, each time focusing on a different qualm he has with the budget the legislature sent to his desk last Thursday.

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