Political earthquakes rock New Jersey’s Democratic machine

July 10, 2024

A series of political earthquakes has shaken New Jersey’s Democratic machine to its core over the past year as a new generation of leaders looks to bring change to the Garden State.

It’s a moment that’s been building for years.

Since October, prosecutors have indicted two of the state’s most powerful Democrats: South Jersey political boss George Norcross and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). The state’s Democratic establishment pick, first lady Tammy Murphy (D), crashed out of the Senate race. And a federal judge threw out a ballot design, colloquially called “the line,” that upheld the power of the state’s political machine…

The changes are rooted at least in part in a generation of younger Democrats who have sought to challenge the party’s old guard. This is perhaps embodied best by Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J), the underdog candidate who won his party’s nomination for Senate earlier this year. Now, that new generation is looking to flex its muscle beyond 2024.

“In New Jersey, there was a machine that was really powerful and if you went up against it, you lost. Through Norcross losing power, the county line lawsuit and Menendez’s indictment … all these events have created this window, and people are stepping into it,” Rutgers political science professor Julia Sass Rubin said.

The recent indictment of Norcross, a man who has never held elected office in the state but was “treated like a demigod” who was “invincible,” according to Rubin, further underscores the changes occurring in the Garden State.

The Hill, July 10, 2024

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