NJ Senate President to Run Troubled Philly Union

Steve Sweeney said to harbor ambitions for governor after Christie's term.

CBS Philly reports: “New Jersey state senate president Steve Sweeney has taken over administration of Philadelphia’s ironworkers’ local, after its president and nine members were indicted for strong-arming non-union contractors. … He takes on the role because he’s the regional vice president for the Ironworkers International, and says his job is to restore the local’s reputation.”

 The South Jersey Times adds:

“We all have our regions, this is in my region,” Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said. “My job — when there are allegations — is to go in and restore the reputation of the union. I’m going in and making sure everyone is doing everything by the book. That’s my job.”

Sweeney said the appointment includes no extra salary. His said it’s possible he could serve as administrator 18 months or longer.

“It’s something I’d rather not be doing, but this is what I get paid to do,” he said. “I’m heartbroken that I’m over there.”

Perhaps for more than one reason. Sweeney can’t like the indictments that led to his placement in Philly — but it’s fair to wonder whether the arrangement disrupts his other ambitions: Earlier this week, the Star-Ledger suggested he was preparing a run for New Jersey governor:

Just months after the Republican governor cruised to a second four-year term, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) is busy racking up the New Jersey equivalent of frequent flier miles as he crisscrosses the state.

Yet the burly South Jersey lawmaker brushes off the notion that he’s carving out a higher profile, and he insists his travels have nothing to do with gubernatorial aspirations.

But political experts dismiss his wink-and-nod denials and say his campaign is all but official for two big reasons: With Christie a potential presidential candidate who could leave office early, an election to replace him could take place before 2017. And the election of Steve Fulop as mayor of Jersey City last year immediately catapulted him to the status of Sweeney rival from the more populous northern tier of the state.