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Joe Biden. Photo by Gage Skidmore

Biden picks his New Jersey delegates

Nearly 400 candidates sought 84 Biden district delegate slots

By David Wildstein, March 20 2020 3:37 am

Joe Biden is close to finalizing his slate of delegates to the Democratic National Convention for the June 2 New Jersey primary, according to a list obtained by the New Jersey Globe.

Former Gov. Richard J. Codey will run for district delegate on a ticket pledged to Biden, along five other state senators, six assembly members, two county chairmen, the mayors of Elizabeth and Plainfield, and former Democratic National Committeewoman June Fischer.

The selection of delegates supporting the former vice president comes just as rival Bernie Sanders is assessing his own bid for the presidency after Biden seized a wide delegate lead.

If Sanders files to run in the New Jersey primary – the deadline is March 30 – he could walk away with a portion of the state’s 146 delegates, if he can win 15% of the statewide vote and 15% in individual delegate districts.

Nearly 400 applicants for a district delegate slot were considered by the Biden campaign, after three separate extensions were granted by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

Among the rejected Biden delegates was former Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a 2017 gubernatorial candidate who served as chairman of Sanders’ New Jersey campaign in 2016.

Wisniewski came close to being selected by the Biden campaign, two sources have told the Globe, after state party treasurer Kelly Stewart Maer actively pushed his candidacy, telling the Biden campaign that party leaders wanted him.  One version of the delegate list had Wisniewski on it, but he was removed after some New Jersey Biden campaign leaders said no.

Former Democratic National Committeewoman Reni Erdos, who endorsed Sanders in 2016, also made an unsuccessful bid to become a Biden delegate.

A total of 84 delegates and nine alternates will be selected in the June primary election from 40 delegate districts formed by combining two legislative districts.  The state party will pick an additional 28 at-large delegates, fourteen Pledged Party Leader and Election Official (PLEO) delegates, and two alternate at-large delegates at a meeting on June 13.  New Jersey also has 20 automatic party leader and elected official delegates.

Click here for a guide to now New Jersey Democrats pick their convention delegates.

New Jersey has 146 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, with 84 being chosen in the June 2 primary election.  Democratic State Committee announced today that delegate candidates will not have to file separate nominating petitions as part of a statewide social distancing plan.

The Biden slate includes prominent supporters of some of his primary opponents: Roselle Park mayor Joe Signorello and Hasbrouck Heights councilman Chris Hillmann, both early Pete Buttigieg backers, were included on the Biden slate.  So was Alixon Collazos, a state committeewoman from Essex County who campaign for Elizabeth Warren.

Here’s how the Biden ticket looks:

Delegate District #1 (Legislative Districts 1 and 3): Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro); Woolwich township committeewoman and Democratic municipal chair Gina Marie Santore; and former Cape May County Special Services school board member Lenora Kodytek.  Former Bridgeton mayor Donald Rainear was among the candidates not picked.

Delegate District #2 (Legislative Districts 2 and 9): Atlantic County Democratic chairman Michael Suleiman; Brenda Brathwaite, a public school teacher and former Atlantic County freeholder candidate; and college professor Philip Nufrio.  Sarah Collins, a state committeewoman from Ocean County, did not get the nod.

Delegate District #3 (Legislative Districts 4 and 5): Camden County Democratic state committeeman Ian Mosley; Rachel Green, the vice president of the Gloucester County Federation of Democratic of Women and a former Action Together New Jersey civil rights director; Frank Filipek, Jr., the director of the Camden County Department of Events and Community Outreach; and former Camden County assistant prosecutor Teresa Garvey.

Delegate District #4 (Legislative Districts 6 and 7): State Senator James Beach (D-Voorhees), the Camden County Democratic chairman; Cherry Hill Democratic Committee co-chair Meryl Green; Karin Elkis, a senior vice president at Optimus Partners and a former South Jersey state director for three United States Senators; and former Southern New Jersey Building Trades Council president James Kehoe, a former chairman of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority who heads the Trenton office of Tonio Burgos and Associates.  Camden County freeholder Melinda Kane was not selected.

Delegate District #5 (Legislative Districts 8 and 12): 2019 Assembly candidate Malini Guha; Matawan councilman; Brett Cannon; and Mary Campbell Cruz, a former 1199 SEIU political director who is now Rep. Donald Norcross’ district director.  This delegate district stretches from Hammonton to Old Bridge.

Delegate District #6 (Legislative Districts 10 and 30): Monmouth Ocean Central Labor Council secretary-treasurer Michael Ryan, the mayor of Lake Como; IBEW Local 30 president William Lowery; and Stewart Maer. In picking this group, the Biden campaign passed on Ocean County Democratic chairman Wyatt Earp, Ocean County Democratic state committeewoman Eileen Della Volle; Eric Brophy, the executive director of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority; and former Morristown mayor Donald Cresitello.

Delegate District #7 (Legislative Districts 11 and 13): Michael Dupont, a Red Bank attorney who has been among the leaders of the Biden New Jersey campaign; Democratic state committeewoman Ava Johnson; Monmouth County Democratic vice chair Mary Foster-Schoales; and Joe Libutti, a former chief of staff to State Sen. Vin Gopal and now a staffer at Kivvit;  Red Bank councilman Edward Zipprich is slotted for an alternate post.  Among the delegate aspirants rejected by the Biden campaign: New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission Chief B. Sue Fulton, a member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s cabinet; lobbyist Gene Mulroy; Monmouth County freeholder candidate Moira Nelson; and Janice Fuller, the district director for Rep. Frank Pallone.  Pallone has not endorsed Biden.

Delegate District #8 (Legislative Districts 14 and 15): State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro); Lawrence councilwoman Cathleen Lewis, an early Biden backer; Stark & Stark partner Bruce Stern; Kelly Ganges, the chief of staff to Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes; and Sharon Shinkle Gardner, the chief of staff to Assemblyman Dan Benson.  Biden’s campaign spurned Lambertville mayor Julia Fahl and Trenton city councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson.

Delegate District #9 (Legislative Districts 16 and 17): Assemblyman Joseph Danielson (D-Franklin); Mitchelle Drulis, Rep. Tom Malinowski’s district director; New Jersey League of Conservation Voters executive director Edward Potosnak; and Middlesex County sheriff Mildred Scott.  In making those picks, the Biden campaign said no to Piscataway mayor Brian Wahler, and Somerset County Democratic vice chairman Zenon Christodoulou.

Delegate District #10 (Legislative Districts 18 and 19): James Rowe; United Food and Commercial Workers-Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 108 vice president Ernestine McCaskill; and Patrick Coveny, a Rutgers student who works for the Middlesex County Democratic organization.  Michele Jaker, a partner at MBI-GluckShaw and a former Planned Parenthood of New Jersey executive director, will be an alternate delegate.

Delegate District #11 (Legislative Districts 23 and 24): teacher’s union leader Kendell Lopez; Phillipsburg Riverview Organization chairman Thomas “Reggie” Regrut, a U.S. Army Reserve veteran; and Linda Telschow, an accountant from Roxbury.  Robert Stead, a Democratic state committeeman from Warren County, was not selected.

Delegate District #12 (Legislative Districts 21 and 27): Codey; Signorello; Erika Vargas-Garrison, the patron services manager at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the wife of Biden New Jersey leader Rob Garrison; and Shannon Cuttle, the first openly transgender person to win election to the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.  Thomas Barrett, a veteran political strategist and Democratic State Committeeman from Essex County, will be an alternate delegate.

There was a point where Rob Garrison was listed as a delegate, along with former state technology director Carrie Parikh, the wife of New Jersey Democratic State Committee counsel Raj Parikh, but they did not make the final cut.  Neither did former state senate candidate Cathie Seidman, Summit councilwoman Marjorie Fox, Hillary Clinton 2008 fundraiser Larry Stempler, and Kelly Doucette, Rep. Mikie Sherrill’ district director.

Delegate District #13 (Legislative Districts 20 and 22): Elizabeth mayor Christian Bollwage; Plainfield mayor Adrian Mapp; Patricia Gonzalez, vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers-Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 108; and Fischer, a longtime Democratic activist and Biden supporter.  Among the delegate candidates Biden passed on: Assembly Majority Conference Leader Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) and Rahway school board member Brittany Hale.

Delegate District #14 (Legislative Districts 25 and 26): Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin; Democratic State Committeeman Philip Sellinger; and Sharon Heller Smith.  Biden took a pass on former Orange mayor Joel Shain, who is Somerset County Democratic chair Peg Schaffer’s law partner.

Delegate District #15 (Legislative Districts 28 and 29): Senate President Pro-Tempore Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark); Newark North Ward councilman Anibal Ramos; Newark councilman-at-large Luis Quintana; Bloomfield councilwoman Wartyna “Nina” Davis; United Food and Commercial Workers-Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 108 president Charles Hall, Jr.; and Judith Fenelus, the chief of staff to Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter.  The alternate delegate is Miriam Tensuan, a marketing executive from Bloomfield.   State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark), an early Biden supporter, was originally slated for a delegate slot, put his name spears to have been pulled.

Delegate District #16 (Legislative Districts 31 and 33): State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City); Assembly Majority Whip Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne); former Jersey City Corporation Counsel Jeremy Farrell; Laura Sankowich, a marketing executive from Hoboken; and Guillermo Artiles, a former associate counsel to Gov. Phil Murphy and the chairman of the Government Affairs practice at McCarter & English.   Former Hudson County freeholder Jeffrey Dublin will be an alternate delegate, and one female delegate slot is still undetermined.

Delegate District #17 (Legislative Districts 32 and 36): Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York); Marilyn Davis, a former national director of community engagement at the Democratic National Committee and one of the early leaders of Biden’s New Jersey campaign; Felix Ocasio, the assistant manager at Our House in North Bergen; Craig Dorsett, a former Obama White House staffer and now a senior policy advisor at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; political operative Anne Marie Principe, the president of a funding and government relations firm; and Patrick Cullen, Jr., the head of the West New York Museum.

Delegate District #18 (Legislative Districts 34 and 35): State Sen. Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon); Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Montclair), a former Democratic State Chairman; former Democratic State Committee executive director Christopher James, an East Orange city councilman; Marqweesha Guthrie, who served as the New Jersey Young Democrats Black Caucus chair; Prospect Park councilman Anand Shah; and Collazos.  Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson) is slotted in as an alternate delegate.  Rejected: Amy Carden, a former NJ Transit official who had been nominated to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by Gov. Murphy; her nomination died after languishing in the Senate for almost two years.

Delegate District #19 (Legislative Districts 37 and 38): Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood); United Storeworkers-Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 3 president Cassandra Berrocal; Roberta P. Brooks; Eric Siyuan Liu; and Julie Knie, a former producer of the Rockette’s Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall.

Delegate District #20 (Legislative Districts 39 and 40): Woodland Park mayor Keith Kazmark, who was the first elected official in New Jersey to endorse Biden for president; Democratic political consultant Adam Silverstein, who is managing Cory Booker’s U.S. Senate re-election campaign; Molly Sokota, a 21-year-old University of Chicago student from Ridgewood; Iris Deixler; and Isaac Graves.  Susan Sahai will be an alternate.

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