Pushed by powerful and influential people in the Democratic Party, the name of Camden Mayor Dana Redd is active in the world of former Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy as an LG option, sources say.
Prospective candidates are beginning to get a harder look by the Democratic front-runner for Governor.
Resumes are circulating.
Phone calls are being made.
Redd is in that conversation.
A former state senator who first grabbed the mayor’s seat in Camden in 2010, the 49-year old from South Jersey did not pursue a third term in office this year.
Her candidacy emerges as a counter to Democratic State Party Chairman John Currie‘s preferred choice for Murphy’s second: Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-35) of North Jersey.
Enhancing the North-South melodrama here are two more circulating names:
Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-34), a former speaker of the General Assembly from North Jersey (pictured, above);
and Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7) of South Jersey.
Insiders read Redd as a strong ally of the Camden County Democratic Party and powerful South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross III. Her strength as someone with a proven political organization behind her also could weaken her chances. Just last week, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) did an endzone dance in the aftermath of Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg‘s (D-37) announcement that the South Jerseyan had sufficient caucus votes to return to the senate throne.
If the Northern bosses who got behind Murphy early resist Redd – or Singleton, who has powerful labor connections as a leader in the Carpenters Union – out of fear that the South might be trying to assume too much power, they have the double option of Sumter and Oliver.
An urban education funding expert with private sector experience as a hospital administrator, Sumter to this point has appeared to be the favorite for the LG job on the strength of her close relationship (goddaughter) to Passaic County Democratic Chairman Currie.
Currie doubles as the state chair of the Democratic Party and was the prime mover behind aligning other North Jersey chairs behind Murphy (to block Sweeney and Norcross) when Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop dropped out of the gubernatorial contest last year.
The other chairs, specifically Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones – already looking at the prospect of the once mighty Essex – home to the most Democratic votes of all the counties in the state – emerging from diner booth negotiations with nothing to show for it (no senate presidency, no speakership) – may get antsy with the idea that Passaic is stepping over the bigger, more politically important Essex.
Sources say Murphy world would prefer a minority – and a woman, which, up against the jockeying triumvirate of Redd-Oliver-Sumter minimizes the chances of Singleton, a talented legislator who’s already delighted to be running for a senate seat this year.
If Oliver becomes the perceived best way to block Redd and the empowerment of South Jersey, would Currie loosen his hand hold on the play of positioning Sumter to serve as Murphy’s LG? But then there are those Democrats who believe that Oliver is too close to the longtime alliance of South Jersey and Essex, which in part weakened Essex to begin with, which makes them double down on Sumter.
Even as the back drama intensifies, in the end, it’s Murphy’s choice.