Emily’s List, an organization devoted to advancing women in politics, backed two New Jersey assemblywomen Thursday.
The group endorsed Assemblywomen Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood), who is running to succeed Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who is not seeking re-election.
“These two extraordinary women have years of experience advocating for marginalized communities and passing legislation that betters the lives of all New Jersey families,” Emily’s List Executive Director Emily Cain said.
Vainieri Huttle is locked in a contest with her longtime running mate, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), for Weinberg’s seat.
The contest has occasionally bent toward glass ceilings. If he wins, Johnson would be the first black man to hold the seat, while a Vainieri Huttle victory would keep a woman in the seat. Women hold just 11 of the 40 seats in the upper chamber.
Quijano faces challenges from candidates aligned with her onetime running mate Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Roselle), who is challenging State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union Township) for a seat in the upper chamber.
Christian Veliz and Diane Murray-Clements are running with Holley under the slogan “I Am You Union County Democrats” against Quijano and Roselle Democratic Municipal Chairman Rev. Reginald Atkins, a former interim mayor.
“The EMILY’s List community is proud to support these groundbreakers who have made history through their public service — Annette Quijano as the first woman and first person of color assembly member to represent her district and Valerie Vainieri Huttle as the first woman to serve as Chair of the Bergen County Board of Commissioners,” Cain said.