Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney have issued a rare joint endorsement of a South Jersey candidate, announcing their support of Democrat Vince Mazzeo for the Atlantic County Senate seat.
“Atlantic County needs a strong voice in the State Senate who has integrity, passion, and a willingness to deliver results, and no one fits that bill more than Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, Murphy said. “As a small business owner and a veteran lawmaker, he’s been a tireless advocate for the middle class and Main Street.”
Mazzeo, a four-term assemblyman, announced that he would seek the 2nd district Senate seat on Monday.
The incumbent, Republican Chris Brown, said last month that he would not seek re-election to a second term.
The endorsement from Murphy appears to close out any significant challenge to Mazzeo, a centrist Democrat, from the left.
“Vince Mazzeo has dedicated his life to making the lives of Atlantic County residents better. Following in the footsteps of former Senator Jim Whelan, Atlantic County will be served well by Assemblyman Mazzeo joining the ranks of the New Jersey Senate,” stated Sweeney.
Sweeny credited Mazzeo with working across party lines to craft legislation that saved Atlantic City from bankruptcy in 2017, a move the Senate President says saved thousands of jobs.
“Mazzeo is taking that same mindset to guiding Atlantic County through the COVID-19 pandemic. As a small business owner, Vince has a unique insight into what it takes to navigate our economy in these difficult times,” Sweeney said. “When Atlantic County residents need help, without fail Vince Mazzeo is there for them. That’s the kind of tireless dedication that Vince will bring to the Senate.”
Murphy had high praise for Mazzeo’s legislative record.
“Whether it’s diversifying Atlantic City’s economy, advancing the offshore wind industry, or attracting good-paying, union jobs to South Jersey, Vince is a fighter and will put skin in the game for Atlantic County at every step of the way,” he said.
This is Murphy’s third endorsement in a State Senate race.
He’s backing Cryan for re-election in the 20th and Andrew Zwicker for an open seat in the 16th.
Still, Murphy has not taken sides in the race for the open Senate seat in Bergen County’s 37th district, where Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg is retiring.