Michael Murphy

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Michael Murphy
File:MichaelMurphy.jpg MichaelMurphy.jpg
Born1949 (age 72–73)
🎓 Alma materGeorgetown University (BA)
Seton Hall University (JD)
💼 Occupation
🏛️ Political partyDemocratic

William Michael Murphy, Jr. (born 1949) is a New Jersey Democratic Party politician, lobbyist and political consultant and is currently a partner at the lobbying firm Impact NJ. Murphy has served as the Morris County Prosecutor and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1997.

Early life[edit]

Murphy was largely raised by his stepfather as his father, an Air Force Captain, died in a crash over the Azores when Murphy was 2. Three years lager, his mother married Richard J. Hughes, then a Superior Court judge in Trenton and later was governor of New Jersey. Hughes had two siblings and four step-siblings.[1]

Murphy married Marianne Espinosa, who was a Superior Court judge. The couple had two daughters, Meridith and Flannery. In 1987, Murphy's wife confronted him with his drinking problem, and he began to attend Alcoholic's Anonymous.[1] The couple divorced in 2005.[2] Murphy is a resident of Chatham Township. His brother is Brian M. Hughes.


Murphy, an attorney since 1975, is a graduate of Georgetown University and Seton Hall University School of Law. Early in his career he served in the state's office of the public defender and Morris County public defender in the early 1980s and in private practice specializing in land use planning and civil and corporate litigation.[3][4] He serves as the Chairman of the Garden State Preservation Trust, a post to which he was appointed by former Governor Codey, and is also the immediate Past Chairman and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Public Policy Center of New Jersey. He routinely appears as a guest commentator on various programs, including CNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and on MSNBC, Fox News, New Jersey Network, and News 12 New Jersey.

Prosecutorial career[edit]

Murphy received his appointment in the Public Defender's office in 1979 through his relationship with Stanley Van Ness, who was also a public defender and had been chief counsel for Richard J. Hughes. In the public prosecutors office, Murphy was the creator of the county's unit for victims of domestic violence.[1] In New Jersey, the County Prosecutor is the equivalent of the District Attorney. Murphy was appointed to the post by former Governor James Florio. While serving as the top law enforcement official in Morris County, an affluent suburban community near New York City, Murphy successfully prosecuted Irene and Arthur Seale for the highly publicized kidnapping and murder of Exxon executive Sidney Reso in 1992.[5] In 1994, he was the prosecutor who sought Mohammed Abequa, a county resident who murdered his wife while their two children slept in the next room, kidnapped his children, and fled to his native Jordan. Working closely with the U.S. State Department and the Jordanian government, Murphy traveled to Jordan to assist in Abequa's trial and subsequent conviction. He served as President of the New Jersey Prosecutors Association.

Murphy left the prosecutors office in 1995 at the expiration of his term and entered private practice. He worked at the firm, Bourne, Noll and Kenyon in Summit, New Jersey in January 199, and took a leave of absence from January to June 1997 to run for governor. In February 1998 he left the firm and joined Scarinci & Hollenbeck in Secaucus, New Jersey.[3]

Political campaigns[edit]

Murphy ran for Governor of New Jersey in 1997 but lost in the Democratic primary. Murphy received 21% of the vote, winning in five counties and placing second in twelve despite not having any notable endorsements. He ran behind Jim McGreevey and Congressman Rob Andrews.[6][7] During his run for governor, he was the only candidate to advocate increasing taxes, proposing a cigarette tax to fun school spending increases and being open to a tax on high earners to pay for essential state services.[1] Murphy was briefly a candidate in the 1999 Senate primary race, be did not mount an organized campaign.[8] In 2002, Murphy denied rumors that he was considering running for Congress in District 25.[9]

Murphy was said to have been a candidate for New Jersey Attorney General under Corzine in 2005, a spot that ultimately went to Zulima Farber.[10]


Murphy was identified by PoliticsNJ.com as one of New Jersey's 100 most influential people as of 2004.[11] He was closely aligned with former Governor Jon Corzine and the state's legislative leaders at the time, Senate then-President Richard Codey and Assembly then-Speaker Joseph Roberts.

As of 2018, Murphy is a partner at the lobbying firm Impact NJ, one of the top ten lobbying firms in the state measured by revenue.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ginsberg, Thomas. Dark horse with political background hits the home stretch, The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 29 May 1997, page B1, B6, accessed at Newspapers.com open access
  2. Symons, Michael. Senate puts former Morris judge back on the bench and Koloff, Abbott. Judge returns, but past not forgotten, both in Dailry Record (Morristown, New Jersey) 1 Jul 2005, page 1 and 8, accessed at Newspapers.com open access
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thompson, Carole. Former Morris prosecutor Murphy to join one of state's top law firms, Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey) Feb 7, 1998, accessed at Newspapers.com open access
  4. Slack, Edna. Dorsey Blasts Public Advocate. Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey) 17 April 1980, page 2, accessed Newspapers.com, open access
  5. Sullivan, Joseph F. "20-Year Term for Woman In Death of Exxon Chief", The New York Times, January 26, 1993. Accessed November 28, 2007.
  6. Pulley, Brett (4 June 1997). "McGreevey Wins Democratic Nod for Governor". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  7. Pulley, Brett (6 April 1997). "Despite the Odds, 'Murph' Makes a Stand". New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  8. Duffy, James A. Murphy considers Senate run, Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey) March 26, 1999. page 11, accessed at Newspapers.com, open access
  9. Snowflack, Fred. Will District 25 Republican primary turn sexy, Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey) 22 Dec 2002, page 47, accessed at Newspapers.com open access
  10. Frelinghuysen showing his conservative side, Daily Record, November 23, 2005
  11. Power List: The Top 100 Insiders Who Influence Politics In New Jersey, accessed July 19, 2006
  12. Booth, Michael (9 March 2018). "Revenue Up 7 Percent for NJ Lawyer-Lobbyists in 2017". New Jersey Law Journal. Retrieved 4 May 2018.

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