TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's Democrat-led Senate on Thursday confirmed Gov. Phil Murphy's former chief counsel to be the state's attorney general.
Attorney General Matt Platkin had been serving as the state's acting top law enforcement official since earlier this year when Murphy nominated him.
“I pledge to continue to work tirelessly to end the scourge of gun violence, to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the broader public, and to protect the rights of our residents,” he said.
Platkin, 35, served as the Murphy administration’s top attorney overseeing pending bills and executive orders for the Democratic governor from the start of the administration in early 2018 until late 2020. He left to take a post at the firm Lowenstein Sandler where he handled white collar cases and business disputes.
Platkin was a fixture during Murphy’s regular news conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic and regularly fielded questions related to executive orders aimed at curbing the effects of the virus.
He was also a lead negotiator for the governor for three annual budget bills and oversaw the vast appointment and nominations apparatus in the governor’s office. New Jersey’s governor is among the most powerful in the country because the state constitution provides for the executive to appoint many offices in the state, including county prosecutors and Superior Court judges.
His ties to Murphy go back to the governor’s first campaign, when Platkin served as a policy adviser.
The attorney general is the state’s top law enforcement official, overseeing the state police as well as all 21 county prosecutors. The post is also responsible for handling civil cases on behalf of the state.
New Jersey is one of a few states whose attorney general is appointed, with most states holding elections to fill the post.
Murphy’s predecessor, Republican Chris Christie, also nominated his former chief counsel, Chris Porrino, to be attorney general. That puts a close ally into one of the state’s most powerful posts.
Platkin succeeded acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck, who’s been leading the Department of Law and Public Safety since Attorney General Gurbir Grewal departed in July 2021.