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Gov. Phil Murphy, center, with New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan. (Photo: New Jersey AFL-CIO)

AFL-CIO endorses Murphy and most Democrats

Three Republicans win New Jersey AFL-CIO support for legislature

By David Wildstein, June 15 2021 12:32 pm

The New Jersey AFL-CIO today endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy for re-election to a second term, along with Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

“These leaders proved themselves during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Charles Wowkanech, the president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “They acted quickly with legislation to protect first responders, health-care professionals and essential workers who came in contact with the public daily. They revised unemployment compensation and other benefits to aid workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Cash grants and loans helped businesses survive and keep their workers employed.”

The AFL-CIO is backing two Democratic assemblymen in their bids to flip Republican-held Senate seats: Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) in the 2nd district and Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) in the 16th.

In the race for Zwicker’s open Assembly seat, the AFL-CIO is backing Republican Joe Lukac, a Manville councilman and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102.   Lukac faces Democrat Sadaf Jaffer, a former mayor of Montgomery.

Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick, a Democrat, got the labor endorsement for Mazzeo’s open Assembly seat.   Christian Barranco, an IBEW Local 102 member, snagged an AFL-CIO endorsement in the 26th, but the union endorsed no one for the other Assembly seat or in the Senate race.

In the politically competitive 8th district, the AFL-CIO is backing State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) and the Democratic candidates for two open Assembly seats.

The AFL-CIO is staying out of legislative races in the 1st, 9th, 12th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 40th districts.  They backed State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood) in the 30th, but not the two Republican assemblymen who are seeking re-election.

One of the races they are sitting out is the open Senate seat in the 21st, where Republican Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield), the Assembly minority leader, is looking to move into the seat being vacated by another retiring GOP senator, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield).  Bramnick faces Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello.

Singer, Lukac and Barranco are the only Republicans to receive AFL-CIO endorsements.

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