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Former Lakewood Mayor Marta Harrison will run for Democratic State Committee vice chair on a ticket with LeRoy Jones, Jr.
With Harrison, Jones likely precludes any chance that incumbent John Currie can peel off any of the five Ocean County votes in his bid for re-election as Democratic State Chairman.
Currie’s chief backer, Gov. Phil Murphy, had been calling Ocean County State Committee members since last week, when Democratic County Chairman Wyatt Earp endorsed Currie.
Ocean County put Jones over the magic number of 49 ½ votes needed to win the state chairmanship. A New Jersey Globe tally has Jones leading Currie by 12 votes, 55 to 43.
Jones hinted that he thinks it’s time for Currie to accept his defeat and step aside.
“It’s time to count the votes, put aside egos and work together, as we have done for so long and so successfully,” said Jones.
Harrison was elected twice to the Lakewood Township Committee, running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican municipality. She was the first woman to win local office in Lakewood and was the first woman to serve as mayor.
Jones called her “stalwart progressive” and a “trailblazer.”
“A former member of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Marta ran for Ocean County Freeholder in 2005 because she understands that Democrats must be competitive in every single town and county in our state, no matter the odds,” Jones said. “And that is exactly the task that Marta and I will undertake as soon as we are elected: to ensure that Democrats build grassroots organizations in every corner of the state that will propel our candidates to victory.”
Currie announced earlier this year that Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer would be his running mate.
With Schaffer, Currie was able to lock up Somerset County’s three state committee votes.
Schaffer replaced Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who resigned one day after she stepped down as CEO of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
Harrison currently serves as executive director of the Ocean County Democratic Organization and was the longtime vice chair. She is preparing to retire as the Social Services manager for Lakewood.
“Marta and I are running together because we want to unify our Party. We want a Democratic State Committee that invests on the point of attack and not on overhead,” said Jones. “With so much at stake both nationally and locally, we cannot continue on a path of intraparty bickering that detracts from the hard work of defeating Donald Trump, protecting our Congressional delegation and electing more Democrats across our state.”