Green Party of New Jersey Statement: “Dominique Faison Green Party Assembly Candidate LD11 Petition Upheld By Secretary of State After Challenged By Incumbent LD11 Democrats Political Campaign Director”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 17, 2021
On Tuesday June 15, the Green Party of New Jersey (GPNJ) appeared online via Zoom to observe the hearing for challenges to petition signatures for our assembly candidate in Legislative District 11, Dominique Faison. Joseph Fortunato Esq. was legal counsel for Ms. Faison and was able to stave off the challengers, Robyn Gedrich and attorney William Opel. During the lengthy six hour hearing Mr. Fortuanto was able to successfully thwart most of the challenges being made to Ms. Faison’s petition.
Ms. Gedrich, a long-time Bernie Sanders supporter and a Sanders National Delegate in 2016, is an Ocean-Monmouth County area “political consultant” and currently resides in Red Bank. On her LinkedIn account it also states Ms. Gedrich is the Political Campaign Director for State Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey. She was named as the challenger to our candidate’s signatures, at nearly the 11th hour, at 1:30pm on Monday June, 14. It is especially concerning to progressives around the state that Gedrich would dare challenge the ballot access of not just Dominique Faison, but a movement of progressive, working-class, strong, Black women taking a stand for their communities all around the country.
The hearing was scheduled for the next morning at 9:00 AM which gave Ms. Faison and GPNJ Elections Chair, Barry Bendar, a short window to find counsel and to prepare. In fact, when the court proceedings began they were told that the final verdict must be handed down by Thursday June 17. The final list of certified candidates running for office must be posted om Thursday according to representatives in the hearing from the NJ Division of Elections.
In the end, Fortunato and the Green Party of New Jersey observers were able to retain 103 petition signatures and fend off the challengers. Per the honorable Judge Patricia Caliguire, that meant that Ms. Faison’s petition was to be upheld with the necessary amount of signatures. Ms. Gedrich and those behind the scenes that brought forth the challenge were given the opportunity to rescind the challenge, yet refused. They had until Thursday morning to appeal the ruling. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State, at 12:01pm Thursday, June 17 emailed her decision and has adopted Judge Caliguire initial decision and accepts that Dominique Faison has the necessary signatures (103) and will be placed on the November 2nd General Election ballot for General Assembly in LD 11.
Ms. Faison is an active member of the Asbury Park Community. She is a dedicated housing activist, a proud black woman, mother to nine children and has had this Covid-19 pandemic impact her in many ways. She has personally struggled and lost loved ones during this pandemic but is still committed to being the change that LD 11 actually needs. Residents in her district signed in hopes she would be a fierce champion and a force to represent their voices this fall.
The purpose of the challenge and reasoning still boggles us and regretfully we weren’t able to secure any answers during the hearing from Ms. Gedrich. So instead of gracefully accepting opposition as would be done for the sake of democracy, we presume she acted for the campaign team of “Democratic” Assemblymembers Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey. She chose to challenge the signatures of Faison and try to silence a strong black woman stepping up to represent her community. With this challenge, we Greens believe Ms. Gedrich completely undermined the progressive goals of resisting the status quo, and in many ways preserved the perpetual cycle of Black female candidates and voters being excluded from the electoral process.
Tom Violett, Green Party of Monmouth County chair and GPNJ Co-Chair, said “I hope Dominique is able to be placed on the ballot but even if this mean spirited, completely unnecessary challenge prevails, the Green Party of Monmouth County and the Green Party of New Jersey will continue to work to give the disenfranchised a voice.” He asks Ms. Gedrich, “What would Bernie say?”
Madelyn Hoffman, Green Party Gubernatorial candidate wondered, “What about the people who for years never had a candidate they wanted to vote for, who for years felt left out by the two party system, but now want to vote for a candidate who they feel better represents them? Dominique Faison’s campaign was going to focus on the issues of gentrification, housing and homelessness. People want to vote for someone who speaks directly to those issues. Knocking people’s names off the petition because they are not registered, even though they are qualified to vote, is bad practice.”
Heather Warburton, LT. Gubernatorial candidate , said “The Democratic party seems insistent on making sure there are as few voices represented on the ballot as possible. Greens, Independents, even members of their own party, it doesn’t matter. They file challenges to have [strong progressives] removed from the ballot.” She especially took issue with the targeting of a female Black candidate for office.
Tuesday evening following the challenge, the Hoffman/Warburton campaign for Governor/LT.Governor featured Ms. Faison and some of the others that were observers on a livestream to discuss the hearing. You can watch this and Ms. Faison’s response to the challenge here:
The Green Party of New Jersey will continue to support its candidates, and will fight on in this election cycle and in future ones to build a more sustainable, equitable, and democratic New Jersey. Since it could still take a few weeks to get the necessary paperwork from the state to formally certify Ms. Faison’s campaign to create her bank account GPNJ has decided to commit all donations allowed, by current NJ ELEC finance laws, through their Paypal link from today until the end of the June for the Dominique Faison for LD 11 Campaign.You can find that donation link here:
Democracy is in question when so-called “progressive’ allies try to knock us off general election ballots. We have supported their work to try and reform that party and run on their lines but we finally say it’s truly time to consider organizing and working together over here with us. When you become no different than the establishment people you are trying to vote out then who truly is worse?
We welcome you to register and change your party affiliation to the Green Party of New Jersey even more so today! You can register to vote and change affiliation here: https://nj.gov/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml