State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) had endorsed Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) for the Democratic nomination for State Senate in the 37th district.
“In her fifteen years in the Assembly, Valerie has proven herself as a progressive, effective, independent leader and public servant,” said Gill.
Vainieri Huttle faces Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) in the Democratic primary to succeed Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who is retiring after nearly 16 years in the State Senate.
“The New Jersey Senate and the 37th District deserve a Senator who will fight for change. A Senator who will lead the way on critical issues impacting us all,” said Gill, who represents parts of Essex and Passaic counties in the Senate. “I know Valerie Vainieri Huttle is the best person to do the vital work that must be done. That is why I am honored to stand with her.”
Gill spent eight years in the State Assembly before ousting Republican State Sen. Norman Robertson (R-Clifton) in 2001. The 34th, which used to include Wayne and other GOP-leaning municipalities, was redrawn after the 2000 Census and put Democratic strongholds of East Orange and Montclair into Robertson’s district. Gill won by 14,318 votes, 65%-34%.
Like Vainieri Huttle, Gill has run off the line before.
Denied party support for re-election in 2003, she fought off former Assemblyman LeRoy Jones (D-East Orange) in a narrow 1,017-vote win. Gill ran for Congress without the support of the Essex County Democratic organization following the death of Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-Newark) in 2012 and finished third with 17% of the vote in a six-candidate field.
Gill began her political career as a legislative aide to State Sen. Wynona Lipman (D-Newark), the first Black woman to serve in the New Jersey Senate.
Johnson is seeking to become the first Black senator from Bergen County.