The levers of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of an “imperial presidency of the Senate”
Democratic State Party Chairman (and Chairman of Essex) LeRoy Jones has to be careful how he runs Middlesex County, possibly the Senate’s new South Jersey, following South Jersey.
Some options for the party to replace Steve Sweeney:
Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29)
Jones has Essex Democratic Party vice chairman by his side: Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (pictured, top), a favorite girl from North Newark, whose late father worked in a factory, who has climbed through the party ranks to become the state’s smartest and most pragmatic education politician as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. She is a staunch champion of urban educational opportunities for underprivileged children and the political sidekick of the late Steve Adubato, Sr., who invested his political capital in educating the children of Newark.
Puerto Rican Ruiz is a mother and communications and Spanish and English expert from the most populous city in New Jersey, which underperformed gloomily in Tuesday night’s election.
She is said to have the backing of Sen. Brian P. Stack, who oversees a Hispanic district and awarded Governor Phil Murphy a large number of people out of Union City on Tuesday as much of the rest of the party dozed off for the elections.
Ruiz is a political nerd, not a talkative union hall type who reveled in the company of people pulling her, which is often a Senate Speaker’s province, and that’s how Sweeney partly excelled in this work.
Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36)
Like Ruiz with training, Sarlo – a civil engineer by training – has a particular area of expertise: the budget.
He chaired the budget committee for years.
Its district includes the County of South Bergen, with its fire stations, baseball diamonds and blue-collar families, and the urban town of Passaic.
Sarlo has strong political skills, ties to the grassroots building trades that hatched Sweeney as a political actor, and a game to have as a consensus pick for cute Bergen if a Middlesex-Essex deal for Ruiz seems less likely. advantageous for the parties involved. .
He keeps Bergen involved;
Likewise Senator Joe Lagana (D-36).
A lawyer based in Paramus, he has the political advantage of the bridges already built to Middlesex.
He was seen entering and exiting the steakhouses of power at events chaired by Middlesex County Democratic Party broker Kevin McCabe before it was all the rage.
Paramus – like South Bergen – contains Jack Ciattarelli voters and he’s kind of a hard hat, the infrastructure guys the Democrats want to bring back to their column. If Gov. Murphy still tries to run for president as a progressive Bernie Sanders, Lagana could view Murphy as a Jiminy Cricket figure from a county that has proven – strikingly for Democrats – to be a field battle.
Senator Nellie Pou (D-35)
If the bottom falls out of an Essex room for Ruiz, Pou – a favorite Paterson Town girl and, like Ruiz, a Puerto Rican with party-planning skills – might emerge as a consensus choice.
Hudson’s energy broker Stack should take a close look.
Pou would help Jones get back into the so-called quad (Hudson, Essex, Bergen and Passaic) and stop the bleeding in a county where the three commissioners were fighting for their political life tonight following Tuesday’s election.
Pou, like Ruiz, would refocus the party in one of those base cities that woefully underperformed on Tuesday.
Senator Joe Cryan (D-20)
Former chairman of the Democratic State Party, Cryan is one of the smartest political minds in the state of
New Jersey; a real operator – that rare bird who also loves politics.
He’s the closest on this list to Sweeney in terms of political social skills (he would be a formidable challenger to Sweeney in a pool hall) but very different in some critical areas.
Even at his strongest, Sweeney has never been able to escape the looming shadow of George Norcross III, the South Jersey energy broker.
Son of the late John Cryan, Essex County Sheriff, Joe Cryan keeps his own advice and has a habit of fighting with powerful entities if they try to push him down.
Its base includes a large part of public sector workers. Protecting them has often opposed him in South Jersey. While other Northern Democrats rocked in the days of Governor Chris Christie, Cryan fought the public sector worker reshuffles championed by the Christie-Sweeney duopoly, suffered the consequences, and not only survived, but increased his power after Christie.
His Jersey district includes a large cross section of Hispanics and African Americans. Cryan would represent perhaps the least obvious but in a most dramatic sense – given his history of pushing them back on key issues – the departure of the Sweeney-Norcross era of New Jersey governance.
These contenders for the throne will likely face the misfortune of easy distortion and stereotyping.
On some level, Ruiz may be faced with the prospect of being seen as too close to the same machine hooked up to Sweeney; and yet, the populations she mainly defends – and who have no voice in this state – came from the halls of the predominantly white male construction trades that hatched the incumbent President of the Senate. The political school she hails from is second to none in the state when it comes to providing services to underprivileged urban children in New Jersey, with the possible exception of the organization Stack’s Hudson County.
A rise of Ruiz or Pou to the presidency of the Senate would mark a major historical moment for New Jersey.
Identity politics has exhausted everyone, even Democrats.
But New Jersey Puerto Ricans – long a vital part of the state’s culture – have not wielded the same behind-the-scenes influence as Cuban Americans. No other Hispanic group has it in this state. Pou or Ruiz acceding to the presidency of the Senate would represent a real penetration into power by a group usually far removed from these intimate circles. In addition, Sweeney, Coughlin, Murphy traded for Cryan, Murphy, Coughlin, for example, could testify to a certain diversity, if one takes the time to analyze the origins of old country Ireland.
At the same time, Ruiz is a loyal and pragmatic party soldier, who worked most of the time without protest during what the late Nick Acocella described as the presidency of the Imperial Senate Sweeney. The party machine – dominated at the caucus level now by Middlesex – has yet to take into account the influence of the South, which claims four caucus members (Madden, Beach, Cruz-Perez, Singleton) and its wide range of equipment from the construction trades. No one wants to make South Jersey an irretrievable enemy. The State already has the example of the American representative Jeff Van Drew (R-2) who changes parties. Remember, Madden almost lost Tuesday night too: 52-48%.
Middlesex will try to make the case that they are progressive pioneers by supporting her candidacy, but they may need her more than the Essex candidate needs. Last year, Middlesex brokers ganged up on Puerto Rico’s only female mayor in New Jersey when they wiped out Wilda Diaz from Perth Amboy.
This movement could come back to haunt them.
Ruiz or Pou offers them a resuscitating lifeline.
Again, Ruiz would be less of a departure than Pou from a Trenton facility fed up with Murphy and genuinely angered by the tin-eared campaign he led, which ended up delisting some of their colleagues.
At this point, Middlesex would be as interested in running for Coughlin governor in 2025 as South Jersey was in advancing Sweeney to governor. Their motivation comes in part from a reaction to the uncontrollable Murphy, who suddenly came to a high elected post, outside the gradations of the New Jersey party power structure, and ended up inflicting on the establishment. hell on election night.
Coughlin would be calm, manageable, and unable to jeopardize the party.
A source said tonight their hope is to get Ruiz to the presidency of the Senate in return for LeRoy Jones’ support of Coughlin for Governor 2025.
There is here an integrated dynamic for the future.
Another consideration is whether any of these people really want the job.
Senator Nick Scutari (D-22) is very interested.
Could he emerge in the midst of prospects less than fully engaged as a true competitor purely because of raw motivation and hunger?
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