“Ask Governor Murphy” — your chance to present questions to New Jersey’s governor live, on-air — returns Tuesday, September 27th.

Listen Live on WNYC. “Ask Governor Murphy” is a production of WBGO in Newark, in partnership with WNYC and WHYY. It’s hosted by WNYC and Gothamist reporter Nancy Solomon.

On our minds: Murphy, Christie, Norcross — a strange alliance

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has often said his predecessor left New Jersey in a mess. But he joined Chris Christie and powerful political boss George Norcross at an event in Camden recently to announce a $2 billion expansion of the city’s main hospital.

“I have to give a huge shout-out to [Cooper University Hospital] Chairman George Norcross for everything he has done with Cooper over the years — and more broadly for Camden and South Jersey,” Murphy said at the event.

Norcross is also former chairman of the Camden County Democratic Committee. He controls a political organization in south Jersey that is widely considered to be the most powerful political machine in New Jersey.

When Murphy took office in 2018, he took aim at Norcross and a bloated state tax break program that Norcross has benefitted from. The governor ordered an audit of the program and created an investigative task force. In Murphy's first State of the State address in 2019, he said New Jersey's comptroller couldn't prove the state got benefits anything like those it handed out. It couldn't even prove even 20% of the jobs businesses promised to create ever materialized, "meaning money flowed from taxpayers’ pockets into a black hole," the governor said.

“The audit revealed bad policy, badly run — a program more likely to have been drawn up in a smoke-filled backroom than created for New Jersey's future,” Murphy said at the time.

Norcross ended up suing the Murphy administration, unsuccessfully, and the governor faced opposition to his agenda from his own party in the Legislature.

The relationship between Murphy and Christie has been just as chilly. 

The current governor rarely passes up an opportunity to blame his predecessor. In his remarks in Camden, Christie made a comment that was, in equal parts, congratulatory and critical of Murphy.

“What governors do when we’re at our best in this state is we build on the successes of our predecessors,” Christie said.

The appearance by Murphy, Christie and Norcross at the Camden event on September 19th sent shockwaves through the governor’s progressive base, and particularly among activists in south Jersey.

Other issues we might ask Murphy about:

What will you ask Murphy? How to get your question heard: