Hunterdon County’s first-in-the-state convention to award the organization line in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in Flemington on Sunday.
It’s being called the Iowa of New Jersey, and while the race looks to be wide open, the only certainty is that Hunterdon will count all their votes before Iowa does.
New Jersey has become fertile territory for a largely undefined presidential race following the withdrawal of favorite-son Cory Booker last month.
Gov. Phil Murphy has decided to stay out of the race, leaving county Democratic organizations to make their own choice.
Eight presidential campaigns plan to participate at the Hunterdon convention: Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.
Representatives of three other candidates – Michael Bennet, Tulsi Gabbard, and Tom Steyer – have not yet told local party leaders that they plan to attend. It’s not immediately clear if their names will be placed in nomination.
A candidate must receive 50% of the vote to win the convention, and party leaders are expecting more than one ballot before a winner is declared.
Only those candidates who receive at least 10% of the vote on the first ballot will advance to the next round, if one is required. Party officials said that percentages will not be rounded up.
If the vote goes to a third ballot, only candidates who took at least 20% will go forward. The threshold will go up if subsequent ballots are needed.
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) is expected to address the convention as a candidate for re-election to his 7th district congressional seat. Malinowski has endorsed Biden for president, but he is not expected to deliver Biden’s nominating speech.
College Democrats of New Jersey chair Meagan Warner, a Lambertville school board member and county committeewoman, says she will nominate Bloomberg.
Roselle Park Councilman Robert Mathieu will attend the Hunterdon convention in support of Yang.
On Friday, Buttigieg received the endorsement of Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora, who had represented part of Hunterdon County in the New Jersey Legislature before his 2018 election as mayor of New Jersey’s capital city.
This story was updated at 10:51 PM to reflect that the Yang campaign will participate in the Hunterdon Democratic convention.