Gordon Johnson’s current running-mates were not his first choice. Apparently they weren’t his second choice either.
Last week’s interview with Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle covered a lot of ground including her peerless record on LGBT- and reproductive rights. Valerie is running for state Senate in NJ’s 37th district which includes Hackensack, Teaneck, Ft. Lee and Englewood.
We also discussed her opponent Gordon Johnson’s curious reply to sexual harassment allegations. We ended with a story about the Bergen Dems attempt to coax Valerie’s running mates Teaneck councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice and Tenafly councilwoman Lauren Kohn Dayton award from Valerie and onto Gordon’s ticket. This happened shortly after Gordon’s first running mates both flamed out for different reason.
It sounded juicy albeit not entirely unexpected. So I reached out to Gervonn and Lauren for comment and their statement follows:
“Following our decision to run for Assembly with Senate candidate Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle on her ticket for the June 8th primary, we were both pressured by party leaders to withdraw from Valerie’s ticket and to join Gordon Johnson’s slate. It was made clear to us that a denunciation of our endorsement for Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle was the only possible path to a spot on the Democratic Party ballot line. Additionally, those that wished us to disband our campaign insinuated that to remain committed to Valerie Huttle may cost us our political futures.
Let us be clear. We are in support of Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle in her bid for Senate because we fully believe she is the best candidate to serve District 37. To denounce her in exchange for ballot placement would not only betray the citizens of District 37, but also our progressive values and the issues we support.
The inappropriate and untimely requests to have us abandon our positions were indicative of the broken process that the three of us have set out to fix. Elections must have fair rules for candidate eligibility, transparency and an open process to ensure voters have a meaningful choice of representatives. Our campaign is about giving the voters a voice. We are true to our word, we will not abandon our principles, and we believe in the qualifications and credentials of our ticket to win in June.”
Jay Lassiter pioneered NJ’s media landscape as America’s first statehouse blogger. An award-winning writer and podcaster, Jay’s fingerprints are on most of NJ’s LGBT- and marijuana laws. He’s on Twitter @Jay_Lass.