Fights loom for Christie, N.J. Dems
By Matt Katz, Inquirer Trenton Bureau.
TRENTON – On a day so busy that the Statehouse cafeteria stayed open an extra three hours for hungry lobbyists who were monitoring dozens of bills, Democrats scampered in and out of meetings to try to put together a $31.7 billion budget to send to Gov. Christie.
Turns out, they also needed to put out a fire that began Thursday and lasted well into Friday afternoon.
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D., Union) – who was ousted last year from the Assembly’s No. 2 post by Camden County Democrat Louis Greenwald – corralled a group of nine maverick Democrats.
Quickly dubbed the Cryan Nine, the group threatened to vote against the Democratic budget, potentially derailing it. Their conditions: Postpone a separate vote to reshuffle the state’s universities – a plan pushed and prioritized by Christie and South Jersey Democrats, including Greenwald. Otherwise, they would block the budget.
Meanwhile, throughout Thursday – as though he were already down the Shore for the summer – the Republican governor took to Twitter to rank his top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs.
The dichotomy illustrated Christie’s role in Statehouse politics and policy: He sets the conversation and dictates the agenda – but is more than willing to stay out of the fray and let Democrats fight among themselves.