A former aide and business partner of state Sen. Dick Codey is throwing his support behind Codey's Republican challenger and hosting a meet and greet for the candidate Friday.
Sean McGovern, who worked for Codey from 2003 to 2008 and was business partners with the Democratic state senator in a Newark restaurant, is supporting Republican Lee Holtzman in his bid to unseat Codey.
"Most of you who know me realize how bizarre it is for me to have a meet and greet for Mr. Holtzman," McGovern said in an email to supporters. "I am, and remain, a staunch democrat. I’ve never voted anything but D. However, you all also know that I stand behind my friends, especially those who are generous, smart and talented like Lee Holtzman. Lee is running for NJ Senate in the 27th District (Essex and Morris). Let’s face it, Codey is a has been and completely ineffective for AT LEAST the last 4 years. It’s time for change."
Codey, a former acting governor and state Senate president, was partners with McGovern in 60 Park Grill, a Newark bar that went belly up in 2010.
The venture created bad blood between the two men as each blamed the other for the failure of the restaurant, according to a 2012 report in the Star Ledger.
Later, Codey and McGovern butted heads again, when the senator ran his son Kevin against McGovern in a race for a county Democratic committee seat. Kevin Codey won the seat handily.
Reached by phone, Codey had no comment on McGovern's endorsement of his opponent.
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