- Democratic fundraiser served as Obama’s ambassador to Germany
- Millionaire first in what may be crowded post-Christie field
Philip D. Murphy, who headed the Frankfurt office of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and served as U.S. ambassador to Germany, announced he is running for New Jersey governor in 2017.
The 58-year-old Democrat is the first major-party candidate to announce his intention to succeed Republican Chris Christie, whose term ends in January 2018. In a video posted on YouTube, Murphy said he was taking “the unusual step” of announcing more than a year before the election because the state’s economy is struggling, and he was eager to get to work on stabilizing the middle class.
Like former Governor Jon Corzine, another Goldman veteran who was ousted by Christie in 2009, Murphy is a multimillionaire who is able to pay for a campaign himself. He served as finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2006 until 2009. Murphy said he plans to start his campaign by loaning it $10 million and also raise funds from supporters.
“I don’t owe the insiders anything,” Murphy said. “I worked hard, got lucky and was able to turn my full-time attention to giving back.”
Married with four children, Murphy was appointed ambassador to Germany in 2009 by President Barack Obama. Prior to that he was head of Goldman’s Frankfurt office and also had been chief of the company’s Asia operations.
At least three other Democrats -- Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Raymond Lesniak and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop -- are believed to be considering a run. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 700,000 in New Jersey.
Christie, who first took office in 2010 and is barred from running for a third consecutive term, saw his approval drop to a record low of 26 percent in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released on April 28. The governor spent more than half his days outside New Jersey last year amid an unsuccessful campaign for president.