Senate President Steve Sweeney announced Thursday morning that after seriously considering running for governor in 2017, he won’t be a candidate and plans to instead support Phil Murphy.
Here is Sweeney’s full statement:
Today, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2017.
It is no secret that I seriously considered running and I believe I would have been able to win the general election and return the Governor’s mansion to Democratic control. As a proud Ironworker for almost 40 years, I understood the hard work it would take to win. However, in the last few days it has become clear that Phil Murphy has been able to secure substantial support from Democratic and community leaders that would make my bid all but impossible.
I am humbled by the support and encouragement to run I received from members of the building trades who have stood with me for decades, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees and other unions, from my fellow legislators and from the people who stopped me on the streets of my hometown of West Deptford.
I intend to run for re-election to the Senate and I am confident I have the support of my fellow Democrats to remain as the Senate President. I am proud of the record I have built as the Senate leader, from raising the minimum wage and working to secure the promises made to pensioners and seniors, to enacting significant bail reform and “banning the box”, to increasing public safety and making college more affordable for New Jersey students and their families. The difficult choices my colleagues and I have made in recent years will make New Jersey a better, stronger and more financially secure place for Phil Murphy to lead as Governor.
I have not yet spoken to Phil, but I look forward to doing so shortly, just as I look forward to working with him next year during the campaign and when he takes the Governor’s office in 2018. I believe that together we will continue to address the significant problems facing New Jersey.