Bartlett Out in CD11

Apparently forced out of the contest by a considerable show of Democratic support for Mikie Sherrill, Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett announced today that he will pursue a third term on the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2018, suspending his campaign for U.S. Congress in the 11th District.

It was a tough few weeks for Bartlett as his party waited for him to leave the race in oder to put its full-fledged backing behind Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and prosecutor.

But he took an optimistic tone.

“I want to express my gratitude to the thousands of supporters who gave of their time, talent, and treasure to support our campaign for change in the 11th Congressional District,” Bartlett said. “I have always been called to public service by the example of my family, by the tenets of my faith, and by the inspiration of my constituents in five years as a Passaic County Freeholder. That call to serve has been bolstered at every turn by the support and kind words of so many across the 11th District and beyond.

“This is a moment of opportunity for change in Washington, but it does not appear to be my moment to be the agent of that change,” he added. “I wish the remaining candidates well, and I am looking forward to running alongside the Democratic candidate in 2018 and making our case to my 130,000+ constituents in the 11th District.”

Counselor Tamara Harris also remains in the Democratic Primary for the right to take on U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-1), but on the party establishment front, at least, it’s been all Sherrill to date.

Bartlett chose not to issue an endorsement, even as he gathered the support for his reactivated countywide bid.

“I am glad to have Freeholder Bartlett’s continuing leadership on the Freeholder Board and next year’s County ticket,” said John Currie, New Jersey State Democratic Chairman and Passaic County Chairman. “John’s service and advocacy for Passaic County has paid huge dividends. His regional leadership has brought in tens of millions of dollars in federally-funded infrastructure improvements, and his deep ties to the community have enabled Passaic County to extend important services to people with disabilities, families affected by autism, immigrant communities for whom English used to be a barrier to accessing services, and our newly-arrived Syrian refugees for whom John has been a powerful advocate.”

“John’s passion for public service and the things he’s accomplished for his constituents in Passaic County are remarkable,” said Governor-elect Phil Murphy. “John and his wife Khyati were some of the first people I got to know as a candidate for office, and their support and friendship mean the world to me and Tammy.  Having seen him in action, I have no doubt that John will continue to serve in meaningful ways for years to come.”

“As an elected official, an activist, and an attorney who has fought for voting rights and equal opportunity, Freeholder Bartlett’s service to democratic principles and the Democratic party has few equals in New Jersey,” said Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones.

“John has been a friend since we worked together on John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and his support for Democrats in Morris County this year helped us achieve unprecedented victories,” said Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson. “I am always grateful for John’s counsel, and look forward to continued friendship and collaboration in the years ahead.”

“Having met John on the trail in 2013 and gotten to know him over the past year, I appreciate John’s attention to Sussex County and our candidates here, and his commitment to work that improves quality of life across our region. John consistently displays the kind of leadership that we need to see more of in the Democratic party,” said Leslie Huhn, Chairwoman of the Sussex County Democratic Party.

“As a Freeholder, I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve so close to home that even with the time commitment of public service and my law practice, I could still make time for my home, my wife, and our son,” Bartlett added.  “I look forward to enjoying the holidays with them and continuing to be a public servant and advocate for all of Passaic County’s communities in 2018 and beyond.”

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