Home>Campaigns>32BJ SEIU backs only Democrats, but skips 4th district for now

Kevin Brown, vice president and New Jersey state director, 32BJ SEIU

32BJ SEIU backs only Democrats, but skips 4th district for now

Major union support goes to Burzichelli, Gopal, Zwicker and Lagana

By Ricky Suta, September 14 2023 2:30 pm

Democrats are betting that organized labor will help mobilize voters in this year’s low-turnout, off-year legislative elections, especially as affordability and jobs become pressing political issues.

Hoping to ensure Democrats retain majorities next year, the 32BJ of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) threw their support behind 79 Democrats across the state, and 71 running for the Legislature. No Republicans received an endorsement.

In a press release announcing the endorsements today, the union stressed that the endorsement process is ongoing, and they are continuing to talk to candidates. Still, the union did not announce endorsements for any candidate in the 2nd and 4th districts, two of this year’s most competitive races in South Jersey, where Democrats there are hoping to flex their political muscle, after difficult losses in 2021.

“Every candidate in this list has made a commitment to defending and advancing the rights of workers across the state,” said 32BJ SEIU Executive Vice President and New Jersey State Director Kevin Brown. “We are proud to support candidates who will not waiver in the ongoing fight for working people. We look forward to seeing them emerge victorious in November.”

The union endorsed the full slate of Democrats in three of this year’s most competitive districts – the 3rd, 11th, and 16th districts.

Those candidates include: State Senate candidate John Burzichelli and Assembly candidates Heather Simmons and Dave Bailey Jr. in the 3rd; State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and Assembly candidates Luanne Peterpaul and Dr. Margie Donlon in the 11th; and State Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-Hillsborough), Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-South Brunswick) and Assembly candidate Mitchelle Drulis in the 16th.

In other competitive districts, such as the 8th, 14th, and 38th, the group made endorsements, but they were not as widespread.

Those candidates include: Assembly candidates Anthony Angelozzi and Andrea Katz in the 8th; State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) in the 14th; and State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn), and Assemblyman Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield) in the 38th.

32BJ SEIU has long been an integral part of the Democratic base in New Jersey. In addition to endorsements, organized labor has historically helped get out the vote and given significant donations to Democratic campaigns.

It remains unclear how issues affecting labor – including developing off-shore wind farms – will play out in this year’s elections, but for both parties, base vote turnout is their friend.

In addition to these legislative candidates, the union also endorsed a number of county and local officials. Those candidates include: Bill O’Dea and Anthony Romano, both running for Hudson County Commissioner seats; Craig Guy running for Hudson County Executive; Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton) running for Mercer County Executive; Rafi Cordova for Hoboken City Council’s 1st Ward;  Marla Decker for Hoboken City Council’s 2nd Ward; Phil Cohen Hoboken City Council’s 5th Ward; and Lauren Myers for Hoboken City Council’s 6th Ward.

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