The Murphys want to protect their progressive NJ legacy — fueled by the line

March 29, 2024

Last week, the two leaders in The House of Murphy offered a unified, macro-defense of New Jersey’s county line system, which gave us a two-term governor from Goldman Sachs.

It is best summarized this way: Despite all the complaints from grassroots activists and progressives about the line balloting that gives endorsed candidates an unfair advantage in primaries, it still produced progressive leaders in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy argued.

“I frankly think the line has served us pretty well,” he told reporters last week. “Progressives who are out there trying to look at whether or not they got a good government … I’d like them to find a more progressive government in America than what they got the past 6½ years, with yours truly elected twice.”

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, whose four-month campaign for the U.S. Senate went down in flames amid a grassroots uprising over the party line on county ballots, offered up a similar defense.

“I think what [the line] produces is whatever the machine needs to produce to stay in power,” said Julia Sass Rubin, a Rutgers professor and prominent critic of the line balloting. “In Murphy’s case, because he had the resources to run and he ran as a progressive, we got a progressive governor. That that’s not because of the county line system. It’s just sort of happenstance.”

Sass Rubin, who found that candidates for Congress between 2002 and 2020 who were granted the line enjoyed an average 38-point advantage over those who ran off the line, added, “Machines are about power and money. They’re not about ideas.”, March 29, 2024

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