Hunterdon County Democratic Chair Arlene Quiñones Perez was the ringleader of a bid to find an alternative candidate for Democratic State Chairman, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Quiñones Perez proposed that Hudson County Democratic Chair Amy DeGise seek the post instead of incumbent John Currie during a meeting with other county chairs that she organized.
DeGise, who participated in the meeting, declined, sources told the Globe.
Two other county chairs, Janice Mironov of Mercer and Katie Rotondi of Sussex, were also in attendance at the breakfast last Friday at a restaurant in Atlantic City where the Democratic State Committee was holding their annual conference.
The breakfast was intended to include just women county chairs, although sources confirmed that Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer was not invited. Shaffer, the state party vice-chair, is Currie’s running mate.
Quiñones Perez had endorsed Currie for re-election last December, but he has not been able to reach the 49 ½ votes he needs to win his race against LeRoy Jones, Jr., the Essex County Democratic chair.
Under pressure from political advisors to Gov. Phil Murphy, Quiñones Perez issued a lukewarm statement supporting the governor but not mentioning Currie.
“The HCDC is committed to supporting the Governor’s decision regarding the NJ Democratic Party. I am committed to moving the Party forward for the betterment of New Jersey,” Quiñones Perez said on Sunday. “Women will continue to lead the way alongside the Governor.”
The idea that Quiñones Perez would make a move on Currie has left some Democrats puzzled. She is a partner at DeCotiis Fitzpatrick Cole and Giblin, a politically influential North Jersey law firm with close ties to Murphy and lucrative state legal contracts.
Quiñones Perez declined comment via text message, referring requests for comment to a public relations firm, MWW, “which handles all inquiries for me.”