Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) celebrated his de facto victory on the Bergen County Democratic line for the 37th district’s State Senate seat a day after Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) announced she would seek the post off-the-line.
“Committee members are the very heart of our Democratic Party. District 37 has over 300 elected committee members and since Senator Weinberg’s announced her retirement, I have been campaigning hard for their votes,” he said. “The support I have received has been humbling, overwhelming and invigorating.”
Weinberg, the Senate majority leader, announced she would not seek re-election this year, ending a career in public office that lasted for more than 30 years.
Vainieri Huttle’s decision to not seek organizational support in Bergen follows a New Jersey Globe tally of eligible voters at the convention gave Johnson enough votes to secure the organization line, with no path for another candidate to deny him the party endorsement.
Teaneck Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice and Tenafly Councilwoman Lauren Kohn Dayton will run on her ticket for Assembly.
In announcing her off-the-line bid, Vainieri Huttle accused Bergen’s Democratic leaders of conspiring to award Johnson the organizational line.
Johnson on Thursday denied any such conspiracy, following a similar rebuke from Bergen Democratic Chairman Paul Juliano, who claimed Vainieri Huttle asked him to tip the scales in her favor.
“The committee process in Bergen County is not rigged, it’s not predetermined, it’s an election,” the assemblyman said. “It’s democracy in action. The members of the county committee are dedicated men and women who know our needs better than anyone and work hard to make our community better every day of the year.”