LD35 senate challenger Haytham Younes told InsiderNJ that incumbent state Senator Nellie Pou (D-35) is the Hillary Clinton of Paterson right now, a candidate so over-encumbered that she puts 35th District Democrats at risk of capsizing in this year’s general election.
So Younes, a real estate investor who’s run unsuccessfully in the past for local office, filed to run against Pou in the Democratic Primary, vowing to refuse public work if he wins – other than senate service. At issue for Younes is Pou’s employment as business administrator for the City of Paterson. The state Attorney General’s Office earlier this year indicted her boss, Mayor Jose “Joey’ Torres, on charges of footing taxpayers with the bill for city employees fulfilling private work.
“She’s wrapped up in this with Torres, and we are not going to lose this seat because she won’t quit her seat,” said Younes, who described himself as energized for a primary fight. “She signed the sheets for the overtime pay and i believe she will be implicated. Why did she keep signing overtime for these employees? I’m telling you right now, if we don’t win in the primary and defeat Nellie Pou, we will lose that seat to the Republicans.
“She is the Hillary Clinton of Paterson right now – the biggest city of the district, and up against her the Republicans have a chance to field another Donald Trump,” the challenger added.
InsiderNJ asked Younes if he backs the return of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) to the throne of upper chamber power. In the past, Pou has backed Sweeney, who seeks another tour of duty as senate president.
“I have not the answer,” Younes said. “I have to sit down and this is a decision that has to be made in stages. I need to get through the primary first.”
As for the gubernatorial election, the senate candidate also demurred when InsiderNJ asked him about his preference. “Phil Murphy- he’s a nice person but if he endorses her, I have to find someone to endorse me – but he should stay away from her.”
Pou backs Murphy for Governor.