Since Vincent Prieto announced a few days ago that he is running for re-election as Assembly speaker, the question is whether his efforts to hold his own Democratic caucus together and at the same time build bridges with Republicans will be enough to get him back in the speaker’s office for a third term.
“I’ll leave that up to the Democrats. He’s a friend of mine, he’s kept his word with me. I may disagree with him, but I think he’s an honorable person and I think he’s a decent person, a good guy. I like him,” said Minority Leader Assemblyman Jon Bramnick.
Prieto (D-Hudson) has a reputation for being fiery, and for digging in his heels to slow down negotiations if the outlook on issues is not to his liking, as on the Atlantic City bailout, the Transportation Trust Fund, and the sales tax. He says that tendency, which has brought him both praise and criticism, has always been about putting the people’s house on an equal footing with the Senate and the executive branch.
With New Jersey Democrats confident that one of their candidates will succeed Gov. Christie next year, there is considerable maneuvering lower down the political totem pole for leadership roles. It is possible that Prieto could be challenged: One name already being mentioned is that of Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex).
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