NJ Politics Digest: The Ways Murphy’s Been Revealing His Interest in the White House

Gov. Phil Murphy Asserts Leadership Through Executive Orders

Gov. Phil Murphy. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy enlisted everyone from Chelsea Handler to former Vice President Al Gore to aid him in his bruising budget battle with legislators in his own party.

And if you think asking Gore or former DNC Chair Howard Dean to weigh in on whether New Jersey should levy more taxes on millionaires or corporations (in the end, it wound up doing both), then you haven’t been paying attention to the signals that Murphy has been sending about his ambitions beyond Trenton, argues a post-holiday story on NJ.com.

The piece makes a compelling case that Murphy is already acting with an eye toward presidential, or at the very least vice presidential, aspirations.

That’s why Murphy hasn’t been shy about commenting on international events, has gotten the state involved in multiple legal efforts challenging the policies of President Donald Trump and even endorsed Bernie Sanders’ son, Levi, for a congressional race hundreds of miles away from New Jersey in New Hampshire.

Murphy has also been buffing his progressive credentials while pushing for things like free community college and, the piece notes, the governor “has acted to ban things that were already banned, like armor-piercing bullets, and forbidden things no one was doing, like natural gas fracking and off-shore drilling.”

Murphy and his camp declined to comment for the piece, and some say Murphy is just picking low-hanging political fruit in an effort to appeal to his New Jersey base.

But New Jersey hasn’t lacked in recent years for politicians with higher aspirations. Former Gov. Chris Christie spent much of his time in office lining things up for his failed 2016 presidential bid, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has also been acting like a man in search of a voter-provided promotion in 2020.

Quote of the Day: “Watching the behaviors that he has undertaken since winning, he must be entertaining the prospect for running for president. Otherwise, why would be he be tackling such national issues and spending a disproportionate share of his energy on things that may be important but are not the highest priority among the constituents that elected him?” — Brigid Harrison, a professor of law and politics at Montclair State University, on Gov. Phil Murphy.

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