Home>Campaigns>Murphy welcomes Thompson to the Democratic Party, but doesn’t endorse him

Gov. Phil Murphy, left, with State Sen. Sam Thompson. (Photo: Office of the Governor).

Murphy welcomes Thompson to the Democratic Party, but doesn’t endorse him

Governor touts ‘big tent party’ but says Middlesex senator must go through nominating process to get party support for re-election

By David Wildstein, February 13 2023 11:30 am

New Jersey’s newest Democratic state senator, Sam Thompson (D-Old Bridge), has received a warm embrace from Gov. Phil Murphy following the Middlesex County lawmaker’s decision to switch parties.

“The Democratic Party has always been a big tent party, and I welcome Senator Thompson to our ranks,” Murphy said of the 87-year-old conservative who is pro-life, pro-gun, and a supporter of Donald Trump for President in 2016 and 2020.

But the titular leader of the Democratic Party stopped short of endorsing Thompson as the Democratic nominee for State Senate in the 12th district.

“There is a process in each of the counties the Senator represents by which a candidate must secure the nomination of his or her county party,” said Murphy. “I wish the Senator luck as he begins that process and know he will continue serving his constituents admirably as he enters this new chapter of public service.”

Thompson indicated on Sunday that he intended to leave the Republican Party and run for re-election as a Democrat.

His decision to bolt parties came after party leaders informed him that they would likely back Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry against him in the June primary.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Thompson said that age discrimination, not his mental and physical health, was causing him to lose party support.

Thompson served as Middlesex County GOP chairman before his election to the State Assembly in 1997.  He moved to the Senate when redistricting created a seat for him in 2011.

“A former U.S. Army veteran and research chemist who served for over 20 years in the New Jersey Department of Health, Senator Thompson has built a reputation as a tireless public servant who prioritizes constituent services,” stated Murphy.  “Among his achievements, he helped create both NJ Kid Care and NJ Family Care to provide health insurance for working families and helped double income eligibility levels for the Senior Freeze property tax relief program.”

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