Something to watch for this morning, when the State Assembly votes on a budget deal agreed to Saturday evening by Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin: which Democrats get or take a pass on voting yes on the revenue raising portion of the package to inoculate themselves from criticism in the 2019 campaign?
Democrats don’t need their entire caucus to vote yes on revenue raisers since only 41 votes are required, although there is little chance that Coughlin will allow a deal he now partly owns to pass with the bare minimum. Democrats have 54 members in their majority – or 53, if the vote occurs after Reed Gusciora resigns in time to be sworn in as the new mayor of Trenton at noon.
Eight incumbents represent districts that are viewed as politically competitive.
The two Democrats from the 1st district, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land, voted no the first time around; so did State Sen. Jeff Van Drew. Republicans are already eyeing this district next year if Van Drew winds up in Washington and began running digital media ads against tax increases in the state budget this week. To be clear, Andrzejczak and Land weren’t give a pass when the legislature’s bill passed last week, they took one.
In the 11th district, incumbents Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling supported the budget the first time around but could get a pass from leadership. So could Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman in the 16th and the very recently elected Lisa Swain and Chris Tully in the 38th.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was edited from the original version to reflect the difference between a vote for the budget and a vote to raise revenues.