The New Jersey State Senate's judiciary committee has signed off on Matthew Platkin to be the state's next attorney general — setting him up for a likely confirmation from the full Senate.
Platkin has been New Jersey's acting attorney general since February.
Late last month, state Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, told NJ Advance Media that Platkin had his endorsement. Codey's OK was seen as a key step toward a confirmation hearing under a rule known as senatorial courtesy — which first requires approval from senators representing a gubernatorial nominee's home county or district. Platkin is a resident of Montclair.
Platkin moved ahead with support from all the Democrats on the judiciary committee, as well as Republican State Sen. Jon M. Bramnick, who said he disagreed with Platkin and Gov. Phil Murphy's administration on many matters of policy, but the acting attorney general was qualified for the job.
Republican state Sens. Mike Doherty and Tony Bucco both voted against moving Platkin ahead, criticizing his role in the Murphy administration's COVID response and saying they didn't trust him to be an impartial attorney general. Platkin had been Murphy's chief counsel as the pandemic hit and Murphy ordered shutdowns and other restrictions.
The acting attorney general has also faced scrutiny for his role in the Murphy administration's response to allegations made in 2018 that then-School Development Authority head Al Alvarez raped fellow administration official Katie Brennan when they both served as part of the governor's 2017 campaign. Brennan has testified she told Platkin and others about the alleged rape, but nothing was done to protect her. Alvarez, who stepped down amid the controversy, has denied the allegations and was not criminally charged.
In a statement released after the vote, Platkin said he appreciated the "opportunity to answer questions about my priorities as attorney general, and to discuss the recent accomplishments of our office."