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Philip Dunton Murphy (born August 16, 1957) is an American financier, diplomat, and politician who is the Governor-elect of New Jersey. He was the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Jersey in the 2017 gubernatorial election. While planning to run for governor, Murphy launched New Way for New Jersey, a liberal organization intended to increase his political visibility in the state.
Murphy was the United States Ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013 during which time he dealt with fallout from the United States diplomatic cables leak matter. He served as finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee in the mid-late 2000s under Howard Dean. Prior to that Murphy had a 23-year career at Goldman Sachs, during which he held several high-level positions and accumulated considerable wealth, before retiring from there in 2006. He is additionally involved in many civic organizations and philanthropic pursuits.Contents
Murphy was born in Needham, Massachusetts, and was raised in both Needham and nearby Newton, Massachusetts. According to Murphy, his family was "middle class on a good day." The family was of Irish American heritage, with Phil being third generation. By his recollection his mother, a secretary, and father, a high-school dropout who took any job he could (including those of a manager of a liquor store and of a for-pay pall bearer), lived paycheck to paycheck. At age 13 Murphy began working "under the table" as a dishwasher to augment the family income.
Both of his parents were enthusiastic supporters of John F. Kennedy and volunteered for the young scion in the United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1952. Murphy played soccer as a boy, an interest that would stay with him in later life. The Murphy mother believed strongly in the importance of education and Phil and his three older siblings would all earn college degrees.
By his later description, Murphy put himself through college with student loans and part-time jobs. He attended Harvard University, where he was president of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and, as he sang and danced, aspired for a time to a life in musical theater. However, he changed directions and graduated in 1979 with an A.B. degree in Economics. Further desirous of not reliving his upbringing's lack of financial security, he then attended, and received an M.B.A. in 1983 from, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.Marriage and family Ambassador Murphy with his wife and children at an event in Germany in 2011
Murphy first met his future wife Tammy Snyder in 1987 when they both worked at Goldman Sachs, but Murphy did not ask her for a date for another seven years. When he finally did, things progressed quickly: they became engaged eighteen days later and were married within six months, in 1994.
Murphy and his wife have four children, three sons and a daughter. They have lived in Monmouth County in New Jersey. The children have been educated at Rumson Country Day School and the Philips Academy. Tammy Snyder Murphy has held a variety of financial, civic, and political positions as well as having been a homemaker.Goldman Sachs career
Murphy began his career with a summer associate internship at Goldman Sachs in 1982. He was hired after graduating in 1983. He rose in the ranks quickly due to what he later attributed as his ability to make deals: "Two people may not like each other and can't work together. Their mutual dislike is their problem. I don't let it become mine. I'll be the man in the middle and the three of us can work out something everybody is happy with."
From 1993 to 1997 Murphy headed the firm's Frankfurt office. His business responsibilities were later expanded to encompass Germany, Switzerland and Austria, as well as in the emerging post-Warsaw Pact economies of Central Europe. In this role he engaged in a number of transactions with the German government's Treuhandanstalt agency, whose purpose was conducting the privatization of formerly state-owned enterprises within the boundaries of no-longer-extant East Germany. Murphy was also active in the Atlantik-Brücke organization, including co-founding its International Advisor Council.
From 1997 to 1999, Murphy served as the President of Goldman Sachs (Asia). In that capacity, he was officed in Hong Kong. During this time Goldman Sachs profited from its investment in Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, a shoe manufacturer which became notorious for its harsh labor practices. The $55 million investment was made the year before Murphy took the Asia post and it is unclear the extent to which Murphy was aware of that firm's operational characteristics. In 1998 Murphy told the Wall Street Journal that “We are elite in the sense the Marine Corps is elite.”
In 1999, Murphy secured a spot on the firm's Management Committee. There his colleagues included Hank Paulson and Gary Cohn, both of whom later served at highest levels of the federal government. This coincided with the Glass–Steagall: aftermath of repeal and made a profound change in how Murphy and his colleagues made their profits, with much greater use of leverage than before.
In 2001 Murphy became global co-head of the Investment Management Division of the firm. This unit oversaw the investments of foundations, pensions, hedge funds, and wealthy personages, and by 2003 it had amassed some $373 billion in holdings. Hedge funds in particular received large lines of credit from Murphy's unit. Another company initiative that Murphy helped to undertake was the unit that did major business in the emerging markets within the EMEA region.
In 2003, Murphy's day-to-day responsibilities at the firm ended, and he became a Senior Director of the firm. He retired in 2005-2006. In all Murphy spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs.New Jersey Benefits Task Force chair
In May 2005, Murphy was named by Acting Governor Richard Codey to Chair the New Jersey Benefits Task Force, on public sector employee benefits in his home State of New Jersey, in response to the New Jersey pension crisis, a particularly long-running instance of the state-level pensions crises taking place nationwide.
The task force reported its findings in December 2005. By this time Murphy was already considered to be retired from Goldman Sachs. The report decried past state practices, saying that "gimmicks" had been constructed instead of genuine solutions.
Murphy as chair recommended the sale of publicly owned assets, which for the most part did not happen, but some of his other suggestions, such as raising the age of retirement and recalculating how pensions related to salary earned, were followed forward with. Labor unions were opposed to the recommendations, with leader Carla Katz saying, “We will fight vigorously and loudly against any cuts to our pensions or health benefits proposed by the task force.” The New York Times wrote that "no matter what happens, the report's legacy may well be that it tried to tackle the issues head-on."Democratic Party finance chair
After leaving Goldman Sachs, Murphy served from 2006 to 2009 as the National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where he worked with DNC Chair Howard Dean. Murphy liked both Dean's vision for the party and for the discipline Dean brought to the task, and the two became close friends.Murphy (far right) in his role as DNC Finance Chair as Senator John Edwards speaks at the DNC Fall Meeting in November 2007
It was Murphy who financed Dean's "50 state strategy". This was not without disagreement, as the strategy was opposed by powerful Democrats in Congress such as Charles Schumer and Rahm Emanuel. However Murphy refused to visibly engage in this dispute, saying, "I'm a sucker for the view that you have it out in the locker room, not in public." Former Goldman Sachs colleague and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin said of Murphy's ability to handle the new position, "He has very substantial technical expertise from his corporate finance work, but he combines that with a wonderful facility for dealing with people." Dean later himself said that Murphy well learnt the lesson not all such figures of commerce understand: that while in business you can command people to do things, in politics things are never so simple.
During his first year Murphy focused on gaining donations from his contacts from his university years as well as from Goldman Sachs; within that year he was able to substantially reduce the DNC gap when compared to the Republican National Committee. In all, Murphy says he raised $300 million for the DNC.
Phil Murphy was also a big donor to Democratic candidates on a personal basis, giving almost $1.5 million to such candidates by 2009. This included modest contributions to individual candidates but several six-figure sums to party committees. During the hotly contested Democratic presidential primaries, 2008 he was a superdelegate but remained uncommitted for most of the contest.Civic activities A soccer enthusiast, Ambassador Murphy poses with girls school teams in Lower Saxony in 2011. Former U. S. national team players Briana Scurry and Amanda Cronwell are also present.
Murphy has been appointed to the boards or committees of various civic or philanthropic groups. Among these are the NAACP, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Center for American Progress, 180 Turning Lives Around, and several programs of the University of Pennsylvania such as the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business and the Wharton School Graduate Executive and Asian Program. Other such entities include the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Investment Company Institute, and Prosperity New Jersey. He has served as the grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Rumson, New Jersey several times.
He has helped lead local charities to support troubled teens and domestic abuse survivors. Murphy and his wife founded 2nd Floor, a teen helpline in New Jersey that had fielded some 700,000 calls by 2015 and that has helped save lives.
During 2004-05 Murphy co-chaired a national task force on 21st century public education for the Center for American Progress that featured fellow co-chairs Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano and academic and civil rights figure Roger Wilkins. The Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future task force issued a report called “Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer: A Progressive Education Agenda For A Stronger Nation”. It called for a longer school day, a reorganized school year, and extending learning scenarios to the pre-kindergarten and post-high school domains.
The Murphy family's time in Germany made them all soccer enthusiasts. Murphy has served on the boards of the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the U.S. Soccer Federation World Cup Bid Committee for 2018 and 2022. He owns a stake in the professional New Jersey women's soccer club Sky Blue FC; he has said that he knows the club is money-losing venture but he wanted to show his soccer-playing daughter that women's professional soccer can exist in the United States.U.S. Ambassador to Germany Ambassador Murphy receiving gifts in Köln in mid-2013 near the end of his tenure. Also visible are Peter Jungen (right) and Mayor Jürgen Roters
Murphy served as United States Ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama from 2009–2013.
The possibility of Murphy being named to the post was first reported by Spiegel Online International in May 2009. The former U. S. Ambassador John Kornblum supported the choice saying "Murphy has been involved in German-American relations for many years. He's a good choice." An agrément was issued.
His formal nomination to the position was made by the president on July 9, 2009. It was then confirmed by the United States Senate on August 7, 2009. Murphy appeared with his family in Berlin on August 21, 2009. That they arrived in an expensive Gulfstream V executive jet irked Chancellor Merkel, who saw it as evidence of the long practice of presidents awarding wealthy donors with ambassadorships. Murphy presented his credentials in Berlin to German President Horst Koehler on September 3, 2009, which is considered by the State Department to be his effective start date. He was then sworn into the position on September 13.
During his tenure, Murphy promoted American trade and focused on engaging Germany’s youth through town hall meetings, exchange programs, and social media communication. Murphy said, "The legacy of our time together in Germany will be measured by how well we ‘set the table’ for tomorrow, by how deeply today’s youth understand the ongoing relevance of the transatlantic bridge. They are tomorrow’s leaders and our investment in their future is our highest priority.” In doing so he paid particular attention to children who were part of immigration to Germany, who rarely had the opportunity to meet Americans.
The United States diplomatic cables leak published by WikiLeaks in 2010 contained negative statements signed by Ambassador Murphy about senior German politicians, including a remark by Murphy that Chancellor Merkel was "insecure" and unfavorable comments by embassy staff about Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister. Some German officials expressed desire for Ambassador Murphy to be recalled.
In response, Murphy appeared on German television outlets such as ZDF in an attempt at performing damage control. Likewise he addressed the crisis in the German press: in Spiegel Online, he said that "I’m a big boy. At the end of the day, the buck stops with me," and that he would not "apologize for one speck" of what his staff had done. Murphy later said that the episode was "incredibly awkward and embarrassing" but that the two countries worked through it, and that in the end Germany-United States relations were stronger than ever.Ambassador Murphy greeting Secretary of State John Kerry upon arrival in Berlin early in 2013
Regarding the European debt crisis, Murphy said in 2013, "The big debate in Europe, which I think is a false debate, is either fiscal consolidation or growth. And the reality is that Europe needs both: it needs fiscal consolidation and growth." Regarding economic differences between the nations, he said, "Germany believes strongly that the first order of business is to cut your debts and deficits and from that, good things will come. We're more likely to say a little bit of stimulus will jump-start things, even if it means incurring more debt. But you work your way through those issues."
On May 29, 2013, it was announced that Murphy was stepping down from the posting. However, he was still ambassador as of July 3; he returned to the United States at some point during that month of July. He formally stayed in the role until his mission terminated on August 26, 2013.Entry into New Jersey politics
Murphy was mentioned as a potential candidate in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2013, but did not run. Rather, upon returning to the United States he returned to Murphy Endeavors LLC, a business management consultancy firm, of which he was the principal, with offices in Red Bank, New Jersey. He had first started this firm in 2009 after leaving the DNC position, but it had soon been put on hold due to his ambassadorial nomination. He also gave speeches about his experiences in Germany, especially in connection with the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
In 2014, Murphy created New Start New Jersey, a non-profit progressive policy think tank which held a number of events around New Jersey. His wife Tammy was co-founder, chair, and secretary. The organization said it would neither endorse nor fund political candidates, as it was barred from doing so. However it did serve to raise Phil Murphy's political visibility and its events included an appearance by singer Jon Bon Jovi. One of its goals was to help displaced workers back into the work force. (Making reference to visibility, in 2016 hacked Podesta emails revealed that Murphy was already seriously considering a run for governor when this organization was founded, telling the Democratic power figure that his ambitions were "very serious but not yet committed" and that the new entity would indeed improve his name recognition.)
In September 2015, Phil Murphy launched a progressive organization named New Way for New Jersey, which held a number of town halls, including some by telephone on Sunday evenings, and encouraged Democrats to sign petitions critical of incumbent Governor Chris Christie. Unlike New Start New Jersey, New Way for New Jersey was an explicitly political organization.
During this time and making reference to Governor Christie's presidential campaign and the governor's subsequent support and travel on behalf of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Murphy implored Christie, "Do your job or quit." Murphy supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary and fundraised for her.
Following announcement of Murphy's gubernatorial campaign, New Way for New Jersey folded. New Start New Jersey continued, albeit without Murphy on its board.2017 New Jersey gubernatorial election Announcement
In May 2016, Murphy announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2017. He became the race's first announced candidate. He has said of his rationale, "I am running for governor because New Jersey desperately needs adult leadership that puts our people first."
Announcing so early was an unusual act. Comparisons with unpopular former governor Jon Corzine, another wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive, has been a challenge Murphy must meet. Murphy also began the campaign with low name visibility among the state's voters. The candidate initially planned to loan $10 million of his own money to the campaign but to also aggressively fund-raise. However, he said he would accept no so-called dark money and that "I’m holding our campaign to a higher standard."2016 developments
While Murphy was the only declared Democratic candidate for governor at this point, several other candidates were expected to run. Mayor of Jersey City Steven Fulop, Assemblyman John Wisniewski of Sayreville, State Senator Raymond Lesniak, and State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney of Gloucester County have been oft-mentioned in news media along with other candidates for the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2017. Fulop and Sweeney were particular geographic rivals, and in terms of state party organizational support, Max Pizarro of the New York Observer characterized Murphy as "everyone’s number two choice. If Fulop or Sweeney stumbles, Murphy could rocket from zero to 100 overnight."
On September 28, 2016, Fulop announced he would in fact not run for governor and said he was endorsing Murphy. Political observers termed this development "shocking" and a "game changer" and said that it greatly increased Murphy's chances of gaining the nomination. This came after Murphy had made inroads in capturing several important endorsements of Bergen County Democratic figures.
On October 6, 2016, Sweeney announced he too would not run for governor, citing apparent party support for Murphy, whom he endorsed. The move came as Murphy was corralling dozens of endorsements, including all of those from North Jersey county party committees and the most populous Central Jersey county committees as well. Sweeney, who had spent years laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial bid, said, "I'm a realist. The party is coalescing around Phil." This meant Murphy had knocked out his two biggest rivals; the Asbury Park Press wrote that "The political universe shifted quickly" and NJ.com termed it "another shocking move that reshapes the upcoming New Jersey governor's race."
As a result of these withdrawals Murphy became the clear front-runner for the nomination, but Wisniewski and Lesniak, the two most known remaining potential candidates, both said they still intended to run. Within days Lesniak also gave up his hopes before reversing course in January 2017, announcing he would run after all. A writer for Blue Jersey attributed Murphy's success to his having "showed up, a lot, and donated, and wooed. Grit Time, money and grit. Show up." Murphy began to receive national media coverage, including a profile in The Nation which commented on his physical resemblance to actor Michael Keaton.
After the stunning result of the United States presidential election, 2016, Murphy noted that the fortunes of the state Democratic Party had improved in the election and said "As with so many, I am disappointed by the results from Tuesday. But I refuse to be discouraged. And I won't be dissuaded from working to make New Jersey a fairer, more just place for all of us." However, Murphy subsequently drew criticism from the New Jersey Lieutenant Governor and Republican candidate for governor, Kim Guadagno, for going over the top when he seemed to draw a comparison between the Trump campaign and the early years of the Nazi rise to power in Germany.
On November 15, Wisniewski, who gained visibility as a leader of the Fort Lee lane closure scandal investigations, announced his run for governor. In his message he implicitly criticized Phil Murphy, saying "I'm not a Wall Street executive. I haven't made hundreds of millions of dollars by outsourcing jobs. I've learned the value of public service. ..." The contest between the two holds the potential of being a nationally visible proxy battle between the establishment and grassroots factions of the Democratic Party. Perhaps as a consequence, Murphy rarely if ever utters the words "Goldman Sachs" during campaign appearances. His town hall-style appearances are carefully controlled with most of the questions prearranged (a holdover from his New Way for New Jersey telephonic town halls).2017 developments
In January 2017 Murphy received the endorsements of the state's two U.S. senators, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker. More importantly, he had the endorsements of each and every one of the state's county party organizations, which number twenty-one. In statewide races these designations offer favorable ballot position, which some voters pick as a default supportive action, and are often central to success.
By February 2017 Murphy was leading by a solid margin in a Quinnipiac Poll both for the Democratic nomination and in a putative general election match-up against Republican front runner Guadagno. However another poll was less certain with most voters indicating indecision.
Two debates with his main Democratic rivals, including former U.S. Treasury official Jim Johnson in addition to the aforementioned Wiesiewski and Lesniak, were held within a short span of time in May; during the second Murphy found himself under sustained attack from his rivals, but he defended himself by staking out very progressive positions. Politico wrote that "Underdogs Jim Johnson, Ray Lesniak and John Wisniewski savaged the front-runner, Phil Murphy, accusing him during the 90-minute televised contest of buying off party bosses and being disingenuous on environmental issues." Subsequent campaigning by those three continued to emphasize the notion that Murphy was "buying" the election. Nonetheless, polls continued to show Murphy with a sizable lead over all rivals.
With $19 million raised, of which $15 million was his own money, Murphy continued to spend the most of all the candidates; indeed his spending was more than twice that of all the other Democratic and Republican candidates for governor put together. He also donated $1.5 million to the various county Party organizations as well as to some local candidates running for office. Murphy captured the endorsement of the first major national figure to inject themself into the race, former Vice President Joe Biden. Additionally he was endorsed by Democratic environmental force and former Vice President Al Gore, which helped solidify Murphy's environmentalist credentials following some attacks on his role as a financier in investing in fracking operations. He also had the fundraising support of wealthy entertainment figures Jon Bon Jovi and Whoopi Goldberg. Most, though not all, of the key labor unions in the state, also supported Murphy. Nevertheless, there was still a sense of apathy about the election on the part of the state's voters; as the New York Times stated shortly before the primary vote, "a majority of voters still say they 'don't know' who to vote for and are not doing much to find out."
In the June 6 Democratic primary, Murphy won a decisive victory in getting 48 percent of the vote, with Johnson and Wisneaski finishing second and third with 22 percent apiece, Lesniak with 5 percent, and scattered others less. Murphy faces Guadagno, Republican victor, in the November general election.
As that general campaign was underwent, Guadagno ran as a Republican moderate, attempting to avoid focus on both Christie, who held a record-low approval rating for a governor, and President Trump. Instead she sought to focus on Murphy's Goldman Sachs background.
On July 26, Murphy announced Assemblywoman and Speaker Emerita Sheila Oliver as his running mate choice for Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey.Policy proposals
Murphy's position at Goldman Sachs when the firm had its IPO made his net worth top $50 million, or if similar to others there, a good deal more. By one estimate, reported in Der Spiegel in 2009, his wealth after leaving the firm was in the range of several hundred million dollars.
Murphy moved to Middletown Township, New Jersey in the late 1990s. He and his family live in a riverside estate with a $200,000 annual property tax bill. Murphy also owns homes in Berlin and in Italy.
In 2016 Murphy released five years' worth of federal tax returns: for 2014 he earned about $6 million, paid about $2 million in taxes for an effective tax rate of 34 percent, and directly or indirectly donated 24 percent of his income to charity. The returns for the other years showed effective tax rates ranging between 32 and 39 percent. Murphy's charitable donations during these five years averaged about $980,000 a year. Due to his wealth and the complicated nature of his holdings, his federal tax filings have been known to exceed 300 pages in length.Electoral history
2017 New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial primaryDemocratic primary results Party Candidate Votes % Democratic Phil Murphy 243,643 48.37 Democratic Jim Johnson 110,250 21.89 Democratic John S. Wisniewski 108,532 21.55 Democratic Raymond J. Lesniak 24,318 4.83 Democratic William Brennan 11,263 2.24 Democratic Mark Zinna 5,213 1.03 Democratic Write-In 463 0.09 Total votes 503,682 100 Awards and honors
In 2015 Murphy received an honorary degree from Hamilton College.References