Party Infighting Roils Murphy Campaign

West Long Branch, NJ – New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and top Party leaders took a big swing at their party's nominee for governor for failing the leadership test amid an internal party fight that's only intensifying as Election Day nears.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which heavily backs Phil Murphy's campaign for governor, is spending millions to topple Sweeney and boost his Republican opponent. 

Murphy is trying to play both sides. He claims to support Sweeney, yet he has refused to tell the NJEA to back off.

Murphy's moves are upsetting top New Jersey Democrats, who complain that the infighting and costly contest will mean limited resources for November and even a downsized majority in the legislature.

Excerpts from The Star-Ledger: 

"It's disappointing," says Sweeney. "He's the leader of our party. And one of his biggest supporters (the NJEA) is being allowed to try to shrink our majority."

"This is a year when Democrats could pick up seats," [Sen. Bob Smith] says. "And because of this, the resources will be limited." ... Smith sees trouble brewing for Murphy as well. "He is the leader of our party, and Steve is the Senate president," he says. "You want to have a good relationship. People are feeling there is a need for leadership. Elections are tests. And this is a test."

"It's very upsetting," says Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen). "There are going to be repercussions. They really should have thought this through."

"What they're doing is so inappropriate," says Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). "It certainly does damage to this group of leaders. We'll never punish kids in the classroom, but they will have difficulty speaking to some members of our caucus."