In a shocking turn of events, the normally liberal teachers union in New Jersey is backing a Trump-supporting Republican in a bid to oust pro-union State Senate President Sweeney.
In what can only be considered a strange turn of events in the 2017 political season, one of the most politically-powerful unions in the state is trying to oust the second-most powerful politicians in the state, Ironworkers’ union leader Steve Sweeney.
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) as even gone so far as to endorse Republican Fran Grenier, who chairs the Salem County Republican Party and supported Trump in last year’s election, according to NorthJersey.com.
The New Jersey Education Association has put more than $4.5 million into the campaign to unseat state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, a Gloucester County Democrat and iron workers union leader whom the teachers’ union endorsed in his most recent run for office. The race in Sweeney’s Third District, a Democratic-leaning area that nonetheless backed President Trump in last year’s election, is on track to be the most expensive legislative contest in New Jersey history with some $16.6 million in total spending, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
It pits one of the state’s most powerful politicians against the biggest-spending interest group in New Jersey in a race that upends Democratic politics. The New Jersey Education Association, whose endorsed candidates have won in more than 85 percent of legislative contests since 2001, is backing Republican Fran Grenier, who chairs the Salem County Republican Party and supported Trump in last year’s election.
The 200,000-member union endorsed Sweeney in 2013 but turned against the Senate president after he reversed course last year on a ballot measure to mandate more funding for pensions for public employees including teachers. Sweeney said at the time that he pulled the $20 billion pension measure from the ballot because it likely would have failed and jeopardized plans to secure more funding for transportation projects.
On the NJEA’s website, the teachers union has a post accusing Sweeney backers of “spamming the school emails of NJEA members in LD3 with political propaganda supporting Sweeney.”
“The emails are created to appear as if they come from NJEA, which has endorsed his opponent Fran Grenier,” the union states.
The people behind the political dirty tricks must know that Sen. Sweeney cannot compete and win on his record. Instead, they have resorted to lies designed to help Sweeney cling to power despite his abysmal record as a Senate President working in close coordination with Gov. Chris Christie.
NJEA President Marie Blistan called out the cowardly anonymous attackers for their misinformation campaign on behalf of Sweeney.
New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states that choose governors this year.
It is expected that Democrat Phil Murphy will win the election to replace Republican governor Chris Christie, who’s popularity has waned substantially over the last few years.