WALL -Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) told reporters today he didn't buy the "Norcross endorses Buono" narrative.
"He didn't endorse anyone last week," Sweeney said of his friend, South Jersey Democratic leader George Norcross III. "He said she's the only one out there and he doesn't think Gov. Codey is willing to do it."
In last week's interview with PolitickerNJ.com against the backdrop of former Gov. Dick Codey publicly mulling a gubernatorial run, Norcross expressed frustration with the party. He called the Democrats' lone declared Christie challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18), Metuchen, a “high quality candidate, and in the absence of anyone else, the party ought to rally around her and move forward.”
Buono, he said, stood up and got in the race while the rest of the field continues to ponder. “I applaud her for that,” said the South Jersey power broker.
Then Norcross went on to criticize Codey, claiming the 27th District senator lacks the guts to oppose Christie.
"Codey is doing his due dilligence," Sweeney said. "I'm not sure he's doing it. We'll have to see. "
Asked if he would support Codey if he were to run for governor, Sweeney said, "If I don't (run), we'll figure that out."
Sweeney has an unhappy history with both Codey and Buono.
In 2009, Sweeney harvested the votes in his caucus to oust Codey from the Senate presidency, then he refused to support re-upping Buono for a second term as Senate majority leader.
Never a part of the leadership cadre around Codey, Buono backed Sweeney over Codey in 2009, a move that helped her land the Senate leadership post.
But by 2011, in part owing to the thorny political issue of public worker pension and benefits reform that Sweeney supported and Buono ultimately opposed, she had broken ranks with Sweeney.
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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