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Sweeney for Governor?

 His actions suggest it, if not his words

Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger February 23, 2014 at 6:01:00 EST

TRENTON — Touring the state. Holding town hall meetings. Chirping away on Twitter. Heading to Israel.

To that end, he has written a “Sandy Bill of Rights” that he is promoting at press conferences and town hall meetings across the state.

“If the administration did their job on Sandy, we wouldn’t be doing a tour on Sandy,” he said. “Honestly, this is drawing attention not to me. It’s drawing attention to the victims of this storm.”

What’s more, in recent months, a decidedly more liberal Sweeney, at least on some issues, has made himself more available to the Statehouse news corps, holding occasional 20-minute interview sessions.

As for his new-found liberal bent, he went from refusing to vote on a same-sex marriage bill in January 2010 to becoming one of its biggest backers. He refused to hold a vote on a bill to reduce the size of ammunition magazines last year, but he has come around and plans to announce his support for the measure tomorrow.

Bound for Israel

Sweeney soon will leave for Israel, where he’ll join several other lawmakers on a tour organized by the Jewish Federation of Metrowest. Typically, governors from New Jersey — a state with a large Jewish population — choose Israel as the destination for their first foreign trip.

Fulop — who said he would probably hold a fundraiser for Baraka — said all this activity had nothing to do with gubernatorial aspirations.

“We’re pushing a progressive agenda for Jersey City,” he said. “We’re happy that President Clinton came. And Newark is my neighbor here.”

“It was his overreaction, not mine,” Sweeney said. “Every chance he gets, I think he’s looking to pick a fight with me. But I’m not going to fight with him.”

Vying for spotlight

The two men also compete for attention on certain issues. On Jan. 31, Sweeney issued a news release calling on Christie to increase the minimum wage for Newark airport workers. Then, on Feb. 3 at an event with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Fulop called on Christie to “follow New York’s lead” and increase their wages.

Of course, both insist that for now they’re focused on their day jobs, even if not ruling out a run.

“The short answer is, look, nobody knows what the future holds,” Fulop said. “I look at my job today, and I couldn’t be happier being the mayor of Jersey City. My intention today is to run for re-election as mayor of Jersey City.”

“It’s hard to believe I’m quoting Dick Codey,” Sweeney said. “He said you don’t plan for this stuff. You do your job, you prepare, and if opportunity comes, you go. Who knows where we’ll be two years or four years from now?”


• Sweeney kicks off 'Sandy Bill of Rights' tour in Perth Amboy

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