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Democratic congressional candidate Tamara Harris

Jones: Harris sought party line

After Essex Dems went for Sherrill, Harris pushed for open primary

By Nikita Biryukov, May 24 2018 6:54 pm

Tamara Harris has pinned a large part of her campaign on her position as a progressive running in contravention to the Democratic establishment, but an Essex County Democratic leader said the social worker “aggressively sought the part line.”

LeRoy Jones, Essex County Democratic chairman, said that Harris aggressively pursued the party’s backing before it went to rival candidate Mikie Sherrill and contradicted Harris’s claim that she asked the party for an open primary.

Harris contests Jones’s account of her actions, maintaining that she never sought the party line.

She said she requested an open primary at a candidate screening attended by Harris, Sherrill and candidate Mitchell Cobert, a claim that she put center stage at Wednesday night’s debate.

“I’m sure if you mention it, I’m sure he’ll remember the conversation because there were at least 30 people in the room that were very clear about my request for the party to have an open primary and let the people decide,” Harris said.

But, made aware of Harris’s claims, Jones maintained that Harris never made such a request.

“No,” he said. “She never did.”

Harris’s apparent attempts to get the party’s backing could prove fatal on June 5, as her chances of a primary victory largely hinge on the support of liberal Democrats and those upset by the party establishment.

The strategy is close enough to her campaign’s core that she repeatedly directed thinly-veiled slights at Sherrill over her party support at Wednesday night’s debate.

Should those attacks prove to be false-hearted or, worse yet, hypocritical, it could spell doom.

Sherrill’s thoughts on the matter?

“That’s her decision on how to run her campaign,” Sherrill said.

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