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

Murphy still mum on support for organizational lines

Governor again sidesteps on measure sought by New Jersey’s progressives.

By Nikita Biryukov, February 18 2020 1:52 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said he remained undecided on the prospect of eliminating organizational lines in New Jersey’s primaries Tuesday, again avoiding taking a stance on an issue being pushed by his progressive base.

“I’ve actually not had any conversations since the last time you asked me that question,” Murphy said.

Hunterdon County Democrats awarded U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) the line last week, and the state’s other Democratic organizations will hold their respective conventions in the next month and a half.

Despite that, Murphy sidestepped a question about when he would decide whether he’d support doing away with a process that helped him secure a primary win during his 2017 gubernatorial campaign.

“Listen, I am personally neutral as it relates to who our nominee is for the president, but I’m not neutral about who the president should be,” Murphy said when asked when he would make a decision on the existence of organizational lines. “I promise you that I will lay myself across the tracks regardless of who our nominee is.”

For the state’s progressives, the party line cuts deeper down the ballot.

They argue the state’s current system, which often places incumbents in preferential ballot positions because of their bracketing, helps to entrench politicians in the state.

Murphy declined to take a question about his view of the party line for down-ballot races.

“That’s all I’ve got there,” he said before hearing the ask.

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