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Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Jones announces bid for Democratic State Chairman

Essex Dem leader has a majority of votes committed to oust Currie

By David Wildstein, November 12 2019 11:16 am

With a majority of votes committed to him, Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr., has entered the race for New Jersey Democratic State Chairman.

“Today, I am formally announcing my intention to run for chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee,” Jones said in a statement.  “After speaking with county committee members and others across the state, I am confident that I have the support of the vast majority of the men and women who make up the Democratic State Committee to lead our party during the next presidential election and beyond.”

According to a New Jersey Globe tally of the 113-member Democratic State Committee, confirmed by multiple sources, Jones now leads Currie, 55 to 43, in a race than began nearly eleven months ago.

The magic number to win a race for New Jersey Democratic State Chairman is 49 ½ votes.

The Globe first reported in December 2018 that Jones was willing to challenge Currie if the support for his candidacy was there.

While Jones and others had been seeking support, he had not officially entered the race until today.

“I deeply respect the tenure of Chairman John Currie and consider him a friend and colleague, who has admirably served our party for the past six years,” said Jones. “However, I agree with the majority of Democratic committee members who believe it is time for us to have new leadership that will unify our party as we work to retake the White House in 2020, return our Democratic delegation to Washington and elect Democrats at all levels of government. Together, we must move past intraparty differences to achieve even greater success in the coming years. The stakes are too high for us to do anything less.”

Currie and his running mate, Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer, issued a statement today essentially re-announcing their candidacies.

“From registering over 100,000 new Democratic voters, to training hundreds of new candidates and campaign operatives, to connecting with the grassroots activists pushing our party forward, to strongly supporting our county and local parties, we have worked hard to make our party the best it can be, and the result has been unprecedented success at winning elections at all levels,” Currie said.

Currie’s coalition – Hudson, Bergen, Mercer, Passaic, Somerset, Morris, Sussex, Hunterdon and Warren – closely mirrors the same group of county chairs that backed Steven Fulop for governor and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in 2017.

Fulop inexplicably dropped out of the race in September 2016, and Prieto lost his post to Craig Coughlin fourteen months later.

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