In a move that diverges from the Building and Construction Trades Council, the New Jersey AFL-CIO has thrown its support behind seven Republicans in South Jersey. However, the AFL-CIO has also decided to endorse Democratic challengers in specific State Assembly races, demonstrating a nuanced approach to political endorsements.
In the fiercely contested 4th district, the union has chosen to endorse Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Township) for an open State Senate seat, pitting him against former Washington Township councilman and Republican candidate Christopher Del Borrello. For the Assembly seats in the same district, the AFL-CIO has endorsed Republican Matthew Walker, a former Buena councilman. Notably, no endorsement has been made for the second Assembly seat. This endorsement follows the recent decision by Bill Mullen, president of the state building trades, to endorse Democrats Dan Hutchinson and Cody Miller over Matthew Walker.
The AFL-CIO has also thrown its support behind three Republican incumbents for re-election. State Senator Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township), Assemblyman Don Guardian (R-Atlantic City), and Assemblywoman Claire Swift (R-Margate) have all received the union’s endorsement. In the 2nd district, however, the building trades have opted not to support any candidate.
In the 3rd district, the AFL-CIO has endorsed Democrat John Burzichelli, a former ten-term assemblyman challenging State Senator Ed Durr (R-Logan). For the Assembly seats in the same district, the union is backing Democrats Heather Simmons, a Gloucester County freeholder, and Dave Bailey Jr., who are running against Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington) and Hopewell Township Committeeman Thomas Tedesco.
The AFL-CIO has taken a different approach in the 8th district, endorsing Republicans for all positions. Latham Tiver, a business agent for Operating Engineers Local 825, has received the union’s endorsement for the Senate seat, while incumbents Brandon Umba (R-Medford) and Michael Torrissi Jr. have been endorsed for the Assembly.
In the 1st district, the AFL-CIO has not made an endorsement for the State Senate race, where Republican Michael Testa Jr. (R-Vineland) seeks a third term. However, the union has endorsed Testa’s running mates, Assemblymen Antwan McClellan (R-Ocean City) and Erik Simonson (R-Lower Township).
Turning to the 11th district, the AFL-CIO has chosen to back Democratic challengers Luanne Peterpaul, a former municipal court judge, and Ocean Township Councilwoman Margie Donlon in their bids to unseat Republican Assemblywoman Marilyn Piperno (R-Colts Neck) and Kim Eulner (R-Shrewsbury). State Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) has also received the union’s endorsement in the same district.
In the 40th district, labor endorsements have gone to Democrat Jennifer Ehrentraut, a Hawthorne school board member challenging State Senator Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), as well as her Assembly running mates, Giovanna Irizarry and Jennifer Marrinan. They will be up against Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff) and Essex County GOP Chairman Al Barlas.
The AFL-CIO has decided not to make endorsements in the 10th, 13th, 23rd, 24th, 26th, and 39th districts, all of which are currently held by Republicans. State Senator Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) has secured the AFL-CIO’s backing, but not the two GOP assemblywomen, Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) and Michele Matsikoudis (R-New Providence).
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech emphasized the significance of these legislative elections for their members and stressed the importance of electing pro-worker majorities. The endorsed candidates have been recognized for their support of working people, and the AFL-CIO will now rally behind them as they approach Election Day.