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Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Firefighters endorse Democrats in most competitive legislative races

Donnelly announces FMBA backing for Mazzeo, Addiego and Zwicker

By NJ Globe Staff, September 16 2021 11:00 am

The New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) has endorsed Democrats in the state’s three most competitive Senate and Assembly contests but is also backing a dozen Republican lawmakers for re-election.

The FBBA is supporting Vince Mazzeo against Vince Polistina in the Atlantic County-based 2nd, incumbent Dawn Addiego against Jean Stanfield in the Burlington-based 8th, and Andrew Zwicker for the open 16th district seat against Mike Pappas.  The 2nd and 16th are currently held by Republicans; Addiego won the 8th as a Republican and switched parties in 2019.

“This has been an unprecedented year,” said FMBA president Eddie Donnelly. “Whether it’s been the ongoing global pandemic or the more recent devastating floods, our members have never backed down in their efforts to protect the communities they serve.”

The union, which represents over 5,000 career firefighters, emergency medical technicians and dispatchers, had previously endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy for re-election.

The FMBA backed challengers against Republican Senate incumbents in two districts.

They are backing Emma Mammano against Jim Holzapfel in the 10th, and Vincent Solomeno in his bid to unseat Declan O’Scanlon in the 13th.

In the 21st district, where Donnelly had initially sought party support to run for the State Senate, the FMBA is supporting Democrat Joseph Signorello, the mayor of Roselle Park, against Republican Jon Bramnick, the current minority leader of the New Jersey State Senate.  The FMBA had traditionally supporter Tom Kean, Jr., a former volunteer firefighter, but Kean is leaving the legislature to concentrate on his run for Congress next year.

In the Assembly race, the FMBA endorsed only Bernards Township Democratic Municipal Chair Elizabeth Graner, skipping Assembly Minority Conference Leader Nancy Munoz and the other two Assembly candidates.

The firefighters are back Democrat Emma Arbiol for Assembly in the 12th against GOP incumbents Rob Clifton and Ronald Dancer.  They endorsed the Republican state senator, Samuel Thompson, but no candidate for the second Assembly seat.  Endorsements in the 13th when to Democratic challengers Allison Friedman and Erin Howard against Republican Assemblyman Gerald Scharfenberger and his running mate, Vicky Flynn.

In the 26th, the FMBA is backing Senate Minority Whip Joseph Pennacchio, but went for two Democrats in the Assembly race over incumbent Jay Webber and his running mate, Christian Barranco.

Two Democrats in the Ocean/Monmouth 30th district, Stephen Dobbins and Matthew Filosa, were endorsed for Assembly against incumbents Sean Kean and Ned Thompson.  But no endorsement was made in the Senate race, where Republican Robert Singer is running for re-election.

The union is backing Republican State Sen. Michael Doherty for re-election in the 23rd district, but endorsed Democrats Hope Kaufman and Nicholas LaBelle for Assembly against incumbents Erik Peterson and John DiMaio.

Five other incumbents did not get endorsements, but the FMBA didn’t back their challengers:  Senator Christopher Connors, and Assembly members Antwan McClellan, Erik Simonsen, DiAnne Gove, Brian Rumpf, Parker Space, and Aura Dunn.

“Our endorsements, including of Governor Murphy, have been offered to the candidates that we believe are the ones that won’t just talk the talk when it comes to putting public safety over politics, but also walk the walk,” Donnelly stated.

The only firefighter in the legislature, GOP State Sen. Anthony Bucco, was also endorsed.

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