Assemblyman Gordon Johnson tonight defeated Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in the Democratic Primary, to succeed Loretta Weinberg as the LD37 state Senator.
It was a tough fight for seat, but the assemblyman ultimately romped, winning 3-1 and sweeping every town, with the exception of Leonia, which he lost by 13 votes.
The battle to succeed Senator Loretta Weinberg in LD37 has set Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle on a crash course in a race that has been as awkward as it has been contentious. What follows here is a synopsis of some of the features that have defined the campaign leading up to Primary Day.
The genesis of it took root in Bergen County and the retirement of Weinberg, the matriarch of
progressive politics in the state of New Jersey, from her long tenure in Trenton. The two assemblymembers took off—Johnson, the establishment favorite, and Huttle, who claimed to be a focused, progressive candidate shafted by the system. Some political wonks ascribed blame to BCDC Paul Juliano for allowing such a collision in the first place, but the matter is moot for the moment. Nevertheless, this may represent a deepening divide within the Bergen Democrats between conventional Democrats and those who claim to carry the standard for the progressive wing which can represent a reconciliatory challenge for the chairman once the primary smoke has cleared.
Given how deeply blue the district is, there is almost an absolute certainty that the next state senator will be Johnson or Huttle. For all intents and purposes, the primary is the election—barring unforeseen events, of course.