Home>Campaigns>Socialist Workers pick ex-Lautenberg opponent as gubernatorial candidate

Socialist Workers Party candidate Joanne Kuriansky, right, gathers signatures on her nominating petitions in Paterson in January 2021. (Photo: Joanne Kuniansky.)

Socialist Workers pick ex-Lautenberg opponent as gubernatorial candidate

Joanne S. Kuniansky will challenge Murphy in 2021

By David Wildstein, February 28 2021 4:57 pm

The Socialist Workers Party has picked Joanne S. Kuniansky, who has run for office in three states, as their candidate for governor of New Jersey this year.

“Workers are the only class capable of leading the fight to change the conditions we face and to confront the capitalist economic and social crisis,” Kuniansky said.

Candace Wagner, a freight rail conductor and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, will Kuniansky’s running mate as the Socialist Workers candidate for Lt.  Governor.

Kuniansky was the Socialist Workers candidate for U.S. Senate in 1994, finishing 8th in a field of 9 candidates.  She received 3,606 votes (0.18%), polling 1,029,881 votes behind incumbent Frank Lautenberg.

Her first run for office was in in a 1986 congressional race in Texas.  She received 9.8% of the vote in a two-candidate race against Democrat Rep. Mickey Leland.   In 1992, she challenged Democratic Rep. Bill Coyne for a Pittsburgh-based House seat and received 1,300 votes (0.57%).

She lived in Australia for several years before returning to New Jersey.

Wagner had announced her candidacy for Congress in New Jersey’s 8th district in 2020, but never filed her nominating petitions.

The Socialist Workers Party in New Jersey has 7,645 voters registered as members.

There was no Socialist candidate for governor in 2013 or 2017.

In 2009, Greg Pason, the national secretary of the Socialist Part USA, won 2,085 votes in his bid for governor.  Pason finished 9th in a field of 14 candidates with 0.09% of the vote.

Kuniansky one of four independent candidates to enter the race against Gov. Phil Murphy this year.

The field includes Justin Maldonado, a 31-year-old Perth Amboy resident who worked as a regional manager for a company that helped rescue distressed hotels.  He briefly ran for mayor in the 2020 non-partisan election.

David Winkler, a retired Marne combat veteran, is running as the candidate of the newly-founded New Jersey Patriot Party.

The New Jersey Libertarian Party has not yet announced their gubernatorial candidate, but Bridgewater lawyer and financial services executive Gregg Mele is seeking the nomination.  Mele won 0.71% of the vote as the Libertarian candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district in 2018.

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