NJ State Senate President Stephen Sweeney has once again made it clear that he opposes a referendum regarding casino gambling in Northern New Jersey for the 2015 general election, a set back for the Meadowlands and others hoping to open casinos in the northern part of the state.
If only one could believe the Senate President. Was it not last year where he mentioned a possibility of a referendum in 2015? It may have been a tactical mistake for the Meadowlands and others to announce their plans or candidacy for a casino as it caused an uproar in South Jersey, the power base of Sweeney.
Based on the uproar, I suspect Sweeney is either favoring a 2016 referendum vote because it will be less likely for it to pass or more likely the case, will find another reason not to move forward with a referendum in 2016. Remember, Sweeney is considered a likely candidate to run for Governor in 2017; a candidacy which will suffer a great set back if he angers much of the South Jersey electorate.
The prediction here is there will be no Senate vote on a referendum until Sweeney loses his leadership position or he decides not to run or is defeated in a campaign to be Governor. Which puts all of horse racing in precarious situation because how long can racetracks absorb losses?
The sad truth is opening up more of New Jersey is not a question of what is right or wrong for the state; it is about power and getting re-elected to office. Yes, Sweeney for now can block the vote, but rest assured getting 3/5ths the vote in each legislative body is going to be a question of assemblymen and senators looking at their likelihood of getting re-elected if they vote one way or the other.