Home>Campaigns>Hughes releases initial endorsement list, including support from Watson Coleman, three state legislators

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. (Photo: Princeton Public Library).

Hughes releases initial endorsement list, including support from Watson Coleman, three state legislators

Longtime Mercer County Executive faces challenge from Assemblyman Dan Benson

By Joey Fox, December 12 2022 4:04 pm

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, seeking re-election to a sixth term, rolled out his initial list of endorsements today, among them Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) and three state legislators: State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton), and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton).

The endorsement list represents a show of force against Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton), who launched his own campaign today with the backing of former Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer and a bevy of Trenton politicians. Benson plans to release his full endorsement list later this week.

Hughes was also endorsed by County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello, County Commissioner Terrance Stokes, and County Commissioner Andrew Koontz, who is soon to leave office after declining to seek re-election this year.

“I am proud to win the support of these leaders because they know how much progress has been made over the last two decades, not for a few, but for every community in our county,” Hughes said in a statement.

The endorsements from Turner, Reynolds-Jackson, and DeAngelo are particularly notable given that all have served with Benson in the legislature for years. DeAngelo, the president of the Mercer/Burlington Counties Building Trades Council, is Benson’s running mate in the 14th legislative district, but it’s widely known that the two have a toxic relationship.

One Mercer legislator, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (D-Hopewell), has yet to make an endorsement. So too does Benson’s Senate seatmate, 14th district State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), though as a Middlesex County politician she may simply choose not to get involved.

County Commissioner Sam Frisby is backing Benson, meaning that the remaining four members of the board of county commissioners – five including Commissioner-elect Cathy Lewis – are still up for grabs. No currently serving mayor in the county has made an endorsement so far, either.

Hughes, the son of former Gov. Richard Hughes, first flipped the county executive’s office from Republicans in 2003 and has held it ever since. He’s argued that Mercer County has experienced great improvements in the last two decades; Benson, meanwhile, said this morning that many of the county’s residents have been left behind during Hughes’ five terms, particularly in Trenton.

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