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Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Middlesex Democrats endorse Murphy re-election

Clairbel Cortes gets organization support for Surrogate

By David Wildstein, March 09 2021 10:11 pm

Middlesex County Democrats awarded their organization line to Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday evening, as well as endorsing the first Latina to hold a constitutional row office in the county.

Claribel Cortes, an North Brunswick councilwoman, is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for Middlesex County Surrogate.

Incumbents Ron Rios and Shanti Narra were endorsed for re-election to the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners.

If Cortes is approved, it would mean that all three row offices in Middlesex would be occupied by women – two of them minorities.  Mildred Scott is the first and only Black woman to serve as a Sheriff in New Jersey.

It also means that a majority of countywide officials are women, fulfilling a pledge by Democratic County Chairman Kevin McCabe to expand the number of women and people of color who hold public office.

Gov. Phil Murphy nominated Cortes last month to fill the vacancy created when 28-year Surrogate Kevin Hoagland retired at the end of 2020.

Over 700 Democrats participated in the virtual convention that included appearances by Murphy and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch), the chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Middlesex Democrats have separate conventions of the legislature set up over the next week.

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