Home>Campaigns>Centrist Whitman-led group backs Signorello for U.S. Senate

Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello. (Photo: Joe Signorello via Twitter).

Centrist Whitman-led group backs Signorello for U.S. Senate

Endorsement is Forward Party’s first foray into N.J. politics, though they nearly backed Malinowski last year

By Joey Fox, April 24 2023 11:10 am

The New Jersey arm of the Forward Party, a nascent centrist group led by former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, made an unexpected and early endorsement this morning of Joe Signorello, the unabashedly progressive mayor of Roselle Park, for U.S. Senate in 2024.

“Joseph Signorello is the leader New Jersey needs in the U.S. Senate,” said Brian Varela, a leader of the New Jersey Forward Party and a former congressional candidate himself. “His steadfast commitment to democracy reform and his pragmatic, results-oriented approach will be instrumental in advancing our state’s interests.”

Signorello, who’s running an uphill Democratic primary campaign against incumbent Senator Bob Menendez, is an odd fit for the Forward Party in a number of ways. The party is built around a message of centrism – “Not Left. Not Right. Forward,” is its motto – while Signorello is clearly staking out policy more liberal policy positions.

But Signorello said that they’ve found common ground on issues that cross the political spectrum, such as ranked-choice voting and campaign finance reform.

“I think that there’s going to be a coalition of Trump Democrats, centrist Democrats, and progressive Democrats who are fed up with Bob Menendez, and this [endorsement] is the first sign of that,” he told the New Jersey Globe. “If I’m going to get this over the finish line, it’s going to be people across the Democratic spectrum who are sick of Menendez.”

It’s not clear yet how much heft an endorsement from the Forward Party carries, or whether any financial support is likely to follow. The current incarnation of the group was launched last year with the intention of running its own candidates across the country, but as the Signorello endorsement shows, its leaders are clearly also content to support candidates running in other parties’ primaries.

Signorello is the first New Jersey candidate to get the group’s backing, though another nearly received an endorsement last year: now-former U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes).

The Forward Party’s New Jersey leaders were fully prepared to back Malinowski, who had been promoting endorsements from other centrist groups in his (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign against former State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield). But Whitman, a Kean supporter, vetoed the endorsement, and the Forward Party stayed out of the race.

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