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Michael Zhadanovsky. (Photo: Michael Zhadanovsky).

Zhadanovsky leaves Murphy staff to join Menendez campaign team

Governor’s deputy press secretary will serve as communications director for Rob Menendez for Congress

By David Wildstein, March 22 2022 3:26 pm

Michael Zhadanovsky, who had been part of a communications operation that helped Phil Murphy become the first Democratic governor in 44 years to win a second term, has been named communications director for Robert J. Menendez’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 8th district.

Menendez is seeking the open of Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York), who is retiring after 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On the Murphy team, Zhadanovsky, a Jersey City resident and the son of immigrants to the Ukraine, worked his way up from intern to press aide to deputy press secretary and spokesman.  His last day is today.

“He brought energy, focus, and passion to his work, and I know he will bring that same drive to help elect Rob Menendez to Congress,” Murphy said.  “Although I’m sad to see Michael leave our office, I know the Menendez campaign is in good hands with him at the helm of their communications team.”

Murphy was an early supporter of Menendez’s House bid.

Zhadanovsky worked on campaigns for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and Murphy for Governor in 2017, and as a Rutgers University student in 2018 became the vice president of the College Democrats of New Jersey.  He was part of a leadership team that included Megan Coyne, then the state college Democrats president and now the head of Murphy’s social media operations.

“I am excited to have Michael join our team and for him to get to work on improving the lives of families in the Eighth District,” said Menendez.  “I look forward to working with Michael on engaging the public and the press on the critical issues that are key to our campaign and our district.”

Zhadanovsky is the second Murphy aide to join the Menendez for Congress team.

Menendez campaign manager Stephanie Lezcano was a field organizer for Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign and later worked on the transition staff and as a cabinet liaison in the governor’s office.

Democrats in Hudson and Union counties quickly coalesced behind Menendez, the son of U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, as their candidate following Sires retirement announcement.   He has won the organization lines in both counties and the endorsements of Murphy, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Senate President Nicholas Scutari and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.

He faces David Ocampo and Brian Varela in the June Democratic primary.

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