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Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Verrelli not yet taking sides in county executive primary

Benson, Hughes released dueling endorsement lists this week

By Joey Fox, December 15 2022 1:48 pm

Though many of his legislative colleagues have already made an endorsement in the brewing Mercer County Executive showdown between five-term incumbent Brian Hughes and Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton), Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (D-Hopewell) said today that he’s staying neutral for now.

“I’m just going to sit back right now, before I make a decision,” Verrelli said.

Verrelli’s two running mates in the 15th legislative district, State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence) and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton), are both backing Hughes, as is Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton). State Sen. Linda Greenstein (Plainsboro), meanwhile, endorsed Benson this morning.

Asked whether he’d eventually join them in backing one candidate or the other, Verrelli said “we’ll see how it shakes out.”

Benson, who has served in the Assembly since 2011, is arguing that it’s time for new leadership in the county, and he’s assembled an intimidating array of Mercer Democrats behind his candidacy. But with Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), three state legislators, and several countywide officeholders on his side, Hughes isn’t shying away from a fight that could eventually extend past the Democratic county convention and into the June primary.

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