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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.)

Building trades council backs Murphy, mostly Democratic legislative candidates

Bramnick, Testa, Munoz among GOP lawmakers with labor support

By David Wildstein, June 29 2021 6:48 pm

The New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council has endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy for re-election, and Democrats in the state’s most competitive legislative districts.

The influential construction trades council is backing Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) for open Republican Senate seats in the 2nd and 16th district, respectively, and Republican-turned-Democrat Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) for re-election to her 8th district Senate seat.

Republican Joseph Lukac, a Manville councilman and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102 union member, won the endorsement for Zwicker’s open Assembly seat.

In a race for an open GOP State Senate seat in the 21st district, the endorsement went to Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield).    Nancy Munoz (R-Summit), the minority conference leader, was also endorsed, but no endorsement was made for Bramnick’s open Assembly seat.

The union group endorsed just one challenger: Democrat Vincent Solomeno, who is challenging State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) in Monmouth County’s 13th district.

“Phil Murphy has been a strong advocate for the building trades and has always worked with our council to create new pathways into good building trades jobs and he has made a commitment to enforcing the labor laws here in New Jersey” said William T. Mullen, the council president. “His impressive professional and political careers demonstrate his strong ability to lead our state during these divisive times and successfully guide us through this terrible Covid-19 pandemic.”

In competitive Assembly races for open seats, the council endorsed Democrats in the 2nd, 8th and 16th districts.

State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland) was endorsed for re-election to a second term in the 1st district, but the building trades union council declined to endorse any candidates for State Assembly.  Two Republican incumbents, Antwan McClellan (R-Ocean City) and Erik Simonsen (R-Lower), are seeking second terms.

Building & Construction Trades Council endorsed incumbents for re-election in every district but the Ocean County-based 9th and 10th, and the 23rd.  The union group also passed on four incumbent Assembly members: Rob Clifton (R-Matawan), Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), Ralph Caputo (D-Nutley), Eliana Pintor-Marin (D-Newark), Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange), Clinton Calabrese (D-Cliffside Park), Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan), DeAnne DeFuccio (R-Upper Saddle River), Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff) and Kevin Rooney (R-Wyckoff).

In total, 78 Democrats and 20 Republicans garnered council endorsements for the legislature.

“We no longer endorse a Legislator who has not committed to supporting building trades issues, that is why this year we have made no endorsements in an unprecedented 23 races,” Mullen said.

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