The Latino Action Network has endorsed 29 Democrats for State Assembly but declined to take sides in nearly all the competitive races in next month’s mid-term elections after most of the candidates simply declined to fill out their questionnaire.
“If they didn’t respond, why would we even consider endorsing them?” said Cuqui Rivera, the Endorsement Committee Chair.
Only Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) won the endorsement of the organization. They endorsed no candidates in the closely-watched 1st, 8th, 21st, 25th and 39th district races. None of the candidates responded to the questionnaire.
No endorsement was made in the special election for State Senate in the 1st district between incumbent Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) and Cumberland County GOP Chairman Michael Testa, Jr. The largest city in the district is Vineland, which is 38% Latino. Neither candidate responded to the LAN survey.
The Latino Action Network also passed on endorsing Assemblyman Matthew Milam (D-Vineland), who is Latino.
Assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D-Secaucus), the first Dominican-American to serve in the New Jersey Legislature, was also not endorsed. His running mate, Anjelica Jimenez, did win the LAN endorsements. The two have identical voting records in the Assembly.
Zwicker’s running mate, Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) was not endorsed.
There was also no endorsement for Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, although they backed Majority Leader Louis Greenwald.
Rivera expressed some frustration with the lack of responses to the candidate surveys, noting that the group would likely have supported more candidates had they responded.
“I know they get surveys from everyone, but this is important,” Rivera said.
The Latino Action Network backed challengers in five districts against GOP incumbents: Wayne Lewis against Brian Rumpf (R-Little Egg Harbor) and DiAnn Gove (R-Long Beach); Deana Lykins in bid to unseat Parker Space (R-Wantage) and Hal Wirths (R-Wantage); Laura Fortgang and Christine Clarke, who are challenging Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany); and Yasin Celik, who is taking on Sean Kean (R-Wall) and Ned Thompson (R-Wall).
The group said they looked at four major policy issues: legalization of adult-use cannabis, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, ending construction of prisons designed for minors, and discriminatory housing policies.
“All candidates for the Assembly were given the opportunity to fill out our survey and request our endorsement. Of the candidates who took the time to do so and after lengthy deliberation, the following have received our full support in the November 2019 election,” said i Rivera. “We wish all our candidates the best of luck at the polls.”
In 2018 the Latino Action Network endorsed Tom Malinowski and Mikie Sherrill for Congress, but not Josh Gottheimer, Andy Kim and Jeff Van Drew.