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State Sen. Vin Gopal. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Dem county chairs would like Gopal for governor

Party leaders think senator a strong candidate in 2025

By Nikita Biryukov, August 07 2019 10:26 pm

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Some of the state’s Democratic county chairs think State Sen. Vin Gopal would make a great governor down the line.

“I think he’s got the skillset necessary to do that. I would love to see that happen,” Somerset County Chairwoman Peg Schaffer said when asked about the prospect of a Gopal gubernatorial bid in 2025.

Schaffer is also State Democratic Vice Chairwoman.

“I think Vin is certainly a rising star, and if that’s the direction that Vin sees himself going, I think he would be a solid and bonafide candidate,” Essex County Chairman LeRoy Jones said.

Gopal won an upset victory against State Sen. Jennifer Beck in 2017 to secure his first term in the legislature.

Since then, he’s become chair of the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and vice-chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee.

“I love Vin,” Union County Democratic Chairman Nicholas Scutari, who is also a state senator, said. “Yea, sure, why not? I mean, that’s a little early, and he’s a little young, but at some point in time, I think he’d be wonderful.”

Before ascending to the Senate, Gopal served as chairman of the Monmouth County Democratic Party.

Under his tenure, Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling won upset victories against incumbents Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini.

Even Democrats who weren’t ready to back Gopal for governor had nothing bad to say about the rising star.

“I think Vin’s an incredible leader, and he’s done a remarkable job both as chairman here and in the Senate,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer said at a fundraiser for Monmouth Democrats Wednesday. “And he’s been a great friend and a leader of our state, and I’m really glad to be here to support him and the chairman here now and all the candidates and elected officials.”

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