Sweeney has been Christie's chief negotiating partner in the Legislature, brokering several budget deals and cooperating on major legislation to merge some state universities and raise health care and pension costs for public workers.
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is not running for governor.
Murphy, a former US ambassador to Germany under President Obama and a 23-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, has been working methodically to secure the Democratic nomination for two years, courting local and county officials across New Jersey and cutting checks to bolster their campaigns.
In a statement released Thursday, Sweeney said he will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2017, citing the significant support already committed to Monmouth County Democrat Phil Murphy.
On Wednesday, he was endorsed by former Governor Richard Codey, 69, and Thursday in Hackensack picked up support from more party leaders, including heads of county committees, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, 56, from Secaucus, and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, 81, from Teaneck.
Lesniak says fellow-Democrat Steve Sweeney's decision not to run for governor had an impact on his decision.
Sweeney, who made no secret of his gubernatorial ambitions over the last couple of years, will seek re-election to his senate seat.
Essex County Freeholder Cynthia Toro said "the next governor must restore New Jersey's economy by strengthening the middle class while uplifting the urban communities".
Murphy's wealth and strong support in northern New Jersey would make it hard for Sweeney, who is vice president of the International Association of Iron Workers and lives in West Deptford, to carry his party's nomination.
Murphy formally announced his candidacy in May and loaned his campaign $10 million, establishing himself as a formidable threat.
On the Republican side, state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16) announced last week he is running as a Republican for governor.
"Phil Murphy is just plying everyone with tons of money", Lesniak said by telephone.
Cunningham said Phil Murphy has a laser focus on two issues close to her heart, curbing gun violence and making college affordable.
The New Jersey governor's election is November 7, 2017. "He's a man who understands party politics".
Derek Roseman, a spokesman for Murphy, said that at town-hall meetings and other campaign events, no one brings up Murphy's similarity to Corzine.
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Brad Pitt", the LAPD said in a statement on Thursday. "He is just wrecked by this", a source close to Brad told People . Pitt's bid will come after the shocking split between himself and Jolie which was announced last week.
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