The Laborers’ International Union of North America is expected to back Dan Benson for Mercer County Executive, giving the assemblyman from Hamilton Township his first labor endorsement in his bid to unseat five-term incumbent Brian Hughes in the Democratic primary, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.
So far, Hughes has dominated building trades endorsements. He has the support of Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton), who runs the Mercer County Building and Construction Trades Council and IBEW Local 269. DeAngelo and Benson have been running mates since Benson entered the legislature in 2010.
This is also the endorsement in a New Jersey race for Mike Hellstrom, Jr., who took over the post as eastern regional manager late last year after Raymond Pocino retired after 25 years running the powerful union. While Pocino was a New Jerseyan who served simultaneously as a Port Authority and Turnpike Authority commissioner, Hellstrom is from New York.
During Pocino’s tenure, support from the Laborers’ union was often accompanied by considerable money and boots on the ground.
It’s not immediately clear how many LiUNA members live in Mercer County.
Benson, a seven-term assemblyman, announced last month that he would challenge Hughes, who has held the post for nearly 20 years, in the Democratic primary.