- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Top New Jersey Democrats have discussed the possibility of ousting the Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a party official said.

Bergen County Democratic Party Chairman Lou Stellato told The Record newspaper (https://bit.ly/1T48UVo ) that George Norcross asked him if he’d support removing Prieto during a Cherry Hill fundraiser last week.

Norcross, an insurance executive and power broker among New Jersey Democrats, had a key role in the deal that elevated Prieto to the speakership in 2013.

Prieto has blocked a proposal for Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to take over the cash-strapped Atlantic City - a bill backed by Norcross and Democratic state Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

Norcross wanted to replace Prieto with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat from Englewood, Stellato said.

“We talked about the feasibility, the possibility of a thing happening,” Stellato said Tuesday.

Norcross declined to discuss specifics of the conversation, but added that people throughout the state aren’t happy with Prieto’s leadership.

Prieto said he has the support of the majority of the Democratic caucus.

Huttle, who was named deputy speaker last year, said she was unaware of any plan for her to become Assembly speaker. She said she supports Prieto.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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