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Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange). Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

McKeon staying out of state chair race

By Nikita Biryukov, May 06 2019 10:42 am

Assemblyman John McKeon declined to endorse either Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones or State Democratic Chairman John Currie for the latter’s seat Monday.

“I respect the both of them. Obviously, LeRoy is one of my home chairpersons, so it’s hard for me not to be supportive, but it’s not my fight, so to speak,” McKeon said. “I’m not even on the committee. I don’t have any vote or any direct say.”

Jones made his interest in the position public last December but has yet to announce a bid for the seat.

Shortly following Jones’s announcement, Democratic county chairpeople began drawing lines in the sand, with both Jones and Currie, who is also Passaic County Democratic chairman, receiving roughly equal support.

The race has created splits between some of the state’s top Democrats, including between Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver.

Murphy is backing Currie, while Oliver is backing Jones, who is the chair of her home county.

But not everyone is forced to take a side.

“From a personal perspective, Essex is home. I’ve known LeRoy both of our entire lives and we have a personal relationship, so it’s hard for me not to be supportive of him, but I’m really not drawn into it from a substantive perspective,” McKeon said. “If I had to choose, it would be LeRoy, but I don’t have to.”

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