A sea change in New Jersey politics is coming next year, not only because Gov. Chris Christie will be leaving office, but because many prominent voices in the Legislature will be gone or are shuffling into other positions.
A string of departures announced this year in the Assembly and Senate and the death of state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) will take a toll on the body’s institutional knowledge. And, depending on the outcome of the November elections, even more legislative leaders and longtime hands could be headed for the exit.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) likely will be ousted from the top job in the lower house by his fellow Democrats and replaced with Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), and there’s a chance Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) could lose re-election in his district to a Republican challenger backed by the powerful New Jersey Education Association.