Gov. Phil Murphy stumped for Sen. Bob Menendez in front of a room of Union County Democrats Sunday morning, the fourth stop on his 21-county campaign tour to boost the odds of Democratic candidates ahead of the year’s midterm elections.
“We need a different kind of leadership folks, we need to remember that we’re proud Democrats, but we do that not at the expense of the other folks. We stand up. We’re proud Americans, but we need leadership again that Senator Menendez and our representatives in the House of Representatives so ably provide us, that don’t divide us, that don’t pit us against them, that don’t blame the synagogue for not having an armed guard,” Murphy told a packed house in Scotch Plains
That last line was jab at President Donald Trump, who on Saturday said the shooting that left 11 dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue could have been avoided if the house of worship was protected by armed security.
The president was something of recurring theme throughout the speeches given by both Murphy and Menendez, who headlined the party breakfast, which was also attended by Reps. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark), Albio Sires (D-West New York) and Bonnie Watson Coleman D-Ewing), as well as 7th district congressional candidate Tom Malinowski.
“This election has never mattered more. I’m not talking about my personal election. I’m talking about this election for the House of Representatives and the United States Senate across the country,” Menendez said. “We have a president who seeks to divide us by who we are, where we came from, the color of our skin and who we love.”
Murphy could well prove an invaluable asset to New Jersey Democrats, like Menendez and Malinowski, that are facing tough contests in midterm elections widely considered to be a referendum on Trump.
The governor’s popular. A Quinnipiac poll released at the start of the month gave him a 20-point spread in his approval rating, 54%-34%. A Fairleigh Dickinson poll released a little more than a week later gave him even better numbers, 59%-31%.
Those numbers may have dropped somewhat in the wake of sexual assault allegations against former Schools Development Authority chief of staff Al Alvarez, but there’s no hard proof of such an effect.
Murphy and the legislature are conducting separate investigations into Alvarez’s hiring.
Still, it’s likely that the governor will provide a net benefit to Democrats whose elections are now just nine days away.
Murphy and Menendez will appear together at three other events on Sunday. They’ll attend a lunch with Morris County Democrats in the early afternoon, followed by an early voting party and rally in Jersey City.