Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe decided last week that the county organization will no longer require county committee candidates to run under a specific gender identification, creating a path for non-binary candidates to seek party office.
That ends the practice of candidates running for committeeman or committeewoman, instead allowing candidates to file for either of the county committee seats in their district without regard to gender.
McCabe moved to eliminate a rule that appeared to block non-binary candidates from running for party office on January 30, according to an internal document obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
“At no time during my tenure has the Middlesex County Democratic Organization denied a candidate the ability to use the ‘Middlesex County Democratic Organization’ designation because of their gender, or their failure to identify gender,” McCabe said. “To the best of my knowledge, the Middlesex County Democratic Organization has never opposed a candidate appearing on a primary election ballot because of their gender identity or failure to identify gender.”
In 2019, nine county committee candidates went to court in a successful bid to run an eight women and one non-binary candidates on a slate backed the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats in five Middlesex county districts despite the existing one-man/one-woman rule.
Middlesex Democrats did not challenge the issue, although attorneys for the county clerk did. The matter is still pending.
Progressives view the one-man/one-woman rule as discriminatory, believing that it blocks woman and non-binary candidates from winning.
McCabe’s decision came six days before a group of progressive activists issued a press release on the issue.
The Central Jersey Progressive Demcorats had filed a motion to amend their 2019 complaint earlier last week.
Republicans will not make changes to the county committee election process.
“The Republicans will leave it as a man and woman,” said Middlesex County GOP Chair Lucille Panos. “Both genders should have equal representation.”
This story was updated at 10:50 AM and again at 11:23 AM.