Middlesex County Democrats will picked their candidates by telephone next week after party leaders decided to avoid health risks associated with the Coronavirus.
“We have spoken to many leaders throughout the county and, in an effort to follow best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be changing the in-person convention to a tele town hall,” said Kevin McCabe, the county chairman. “While we are disappointed that we will not be gathering in person during this critically important time, we have made this decision in order to protect the health and safety of our community.”
The decision for McCabe to move the convention to a conference call was eased by decisions of progressive challenges not to complete for the Middlesex organization line.
The Middlesex line is expected to go to the only Democrats who asked for it: U.S. Senator Cory Booker; Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing); Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-East Brunswick) for county clerk; and incumbent freeholders Charles Tomaro and Leslie Koppel.
Former Newark school board member Lawrence Hamm, the chairman of Bernie Sanders’ New Jersey campaign, is challenging Booker in the U.S. Senate primary. Pallone faces Russ Cirincione and Zac Roeill in the 6th district.
Herb Tarbous is running for county clerk on an alternate slate, along with freeholder candidates Neeharika Thuravil and Catherine Hunt.
McCabe’s decision is backed up by the New Jersey Progressive Democrats of Union County, who cancelled their “Abolish the Line” rally this afternoon.
“Ballot reform is extremely important, but public health is our first priority,” the NJPD-UC group said. “Epidemiologists and public health experts are resoundingly recommending that large gatherings of people be canceled – we are heading the advice of the experts.”