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Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, left, with Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Courtesy of the Governor's Office.)

Operating Engineers back Sweeney, Coughlin

Powerful Local 825 skips 16th district race

By David Wildstein, October 07 2021 9:35 am

The Operating Engineers Local 825, one of New Jersey’s most politically adept labor unions and one that doesn’t hesitate to endorse Republicans in competitive contests, has endorsed Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin in their re-election bids this year.

“When you ask the question, who do you want in the foxhole with you when the going gets tough — Steve Sweeney is top of that list for Local 825 members,” said Greg Lalevee, the IUOE Local 825 business manager. 

The union also endorsed Sweeney’s running mates, Assemblymen John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) and Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich). 

“Steve, John and Adam have always been there for us and we will be there for him,” Lalevee said. 

In addition to Coughlin, Local 825 endorsed State Sens. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), Bob Smith (D-Piscataway), Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) and Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge), Assemblyman Wayne D’Angelo (D-Hamilton), Joseph Egan (D-New Brunswick) Rob Karabinchak (D-Edison), and Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Perth Amboy).

“The team in Middlesex, led by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, has consistently delivered for Local 825 members and their families,” Lalevee said.  “At all levels of government, they understand the needs of working people and strive to make New Jersey a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

But not all Middlesex Democrats snagged Local 825 endorsements. 

The union made no endorsements in the 16th legislative district, where Assemblyman Andew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) is seeking an open State Senate seat.  Three other assemblymen who represent parts of Middlesex County — Dan Benson (D-Hamilton), Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) and Joseph Danielson (D-Franklin) — were passed over, although no Republican challengers were endorsed in their place. 

IUOE Local 825 endorsements also went to Middlesex county commissioners Ronald Rios Shanti Narra, and Chanelle Scott McCullom, and to Surrogate Claribel Cortes. 

In the 37th district, which hasn’t elected a Republican since it was created 48 years ago, Local 825 is backing all Democrats: Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Gordon Johnson for State Senate,and Shama Haider and Ellen Park for Assembly. 

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