N.J. Working Families Blasts Anti-Democratic Move by Ocean County Machine to Withhold CD-2 Endorsement

A number of liberal groups rallied outside the Statehouse in support of raising income taxes on millionaires. Though Gov. Phil Murphy supports a millionaire's tax and polls show a majority of voters do as well, Senate President Steve Sweeney does not, even though he voted for it during Chris Christie's administration.

N.J. Working Families Blasts Anti-Democratic Move by Ocean County Machine to Withhold CD-2 Endorsement

New Jersey Working Families State Director Sue Altman issued the following statement in response to the decision by Ocean County Democratic political bosses to refuse to endorse a candidate in the Second Congressional District:

Today’s outcome in Ocean County was an unbelievable one – even by South Jersey standards. Ocean County’s Democratic machine denied elected committee members an open and transparent political process to award the party’s endorsement in the crucial Second Congressional District primary race by cancelling the virtual vote, only hours before it was scheduled to take place. These are the same party chairs who anointed Congressman Jeff Van Drew – a conservative “Democrat” who promptly switched parties once in office.

It is likely that Amy Kennedy was going to win in Ocean, just like she did in Atlantic – the other county with a ballot convention. This would be a problem for Wyatt Earp, the Ocean Party Chair and George Norcross ally, because Kennedy has publicly challenged the Norcross machine. Clearly she could not be allowed a win. So Earp has called off a vote altogether. It was a clumsy and clear attempt to rig the primary election.

This violation is even more striking because committee members voted to award the party endorsement to other candidates today. The move to cancel was reserved only for the Second Congressional District. The chair moved forward with endorsements for the Third and Fourth Congressional Districts. The decision to cancel the vote for only one race was arbitrary and political.

This move is the latest in a long string of attacks against our democratic process in South Jersey by a political machine afraid of losing more power in the upcoming election. Party chairs in Cape May county postponed county committee elections for a year – despite a large number of progressives having already handed in petitions – and Salem County has postponed elections for an astounding two years, even though other elections are going forward as scheduled in June. In both cases, party chairs could have resorted to the governor’s advice in Executive Order 105 and maintained the democratic process through virtual petitioning.

While the special interests who dominate South Jersey politics will stop at nothing to frustrate the will of the voters, they should know that a dedicated group of progressive advocates is refusing to be cowed by the machine. We will not be derailed.

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