How much news can one union’s endorsement make in a GOP primary? A lot, apparently.
Last weekend, Gloucester County Commissioner Nick DeSilvio (R-Franklin) called on his 4th district State Senate opponent, former Washington Township Councilman Christopher Del Borrello, to disavow the endorsement of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, a powerful union which sometimes backs prominent Democrats.
Now, Del Borrello is hitting back, accusing DeSilvio – a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 351 – of being an anti-union hypocrite.
“Nick DeSilvio and [Gloucester GOP chair] Jacci Vigilante are sad, desperate people,” Del Borrello said. “Rank and file building trades men and women are overwhelmingly Trump supporters, conservatives, and 2nd Amendment supporters. Instead of bashing them and continuing to lose elections, maybe you should reach out to them and grow our party.”
Del Borrello’s campaign has close ties to Local 825; one of his Assembly running mates, Matt Walker, is on the union’s executive board.
But Del Borrello noted that Team DeSilvio hasn’t always shied away from Local 825’s support, either. The Gloucester County GOP, which is supporting DeSilvio in the primary, received a $2,500 donation from Local 825 in 2022 and listed the union as a “platinum sponsor” at a fundraising event.
“Given the fact that Nick DeSilvio literally begged and whined for labor union support in his previous campaign, and Vigilante happily accepted thousands of dollars from the same building trades union her candidate is now attacking, maybe they should put down the shovel and stop digging,” Del Borrello said.
That last line prompted an in-kind response from DeSilvio, who blasted Del Borrello in a comeback of his own.
“How silly of Chris Del Borrello to try and tell me what union workers think or tell me to put down a shovel,” DeSilvio said. “His soft liberal hands would blister just looking at a shovel.”
The fight between DeSilvio and Del Borrello, who has party support in the 4th district’s two other counties, will be consequential for the GOP’s efforts to make gains in the State Senate this November. Whoever wins the primary will go up against Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington), who is tasked with defending what may be Democrats’ most vulnerable legislative district.
Del Borrello and DeSilvio will meet next Monday for a New Jersey Globe/Save Jersey-hosted primary debate.
This story was updated at 4:16 p.m. with comment from DeSilvio.