Hudson County Democrats will settle on a single presidential candidate to be on their organization line in the June primary, county chair Amy DeGise told the New Jersey Globe.
DeGise dismissed the option of holding an open primary for any Democrats who remain in the race for president by New Jersey’s June primary.
“I don’t think that it’s necessary,” DeGise said. “Our organization should stand up for one person. We do have an obligation to pick someone.”
She also rejected holding a convention to replace the current process of insiders picking awarding the line, eschewing the possibility of even a non-binding, advisory process that involves rank-and-file Democrats.
“You have to be extremely delicate,” DeGise said about picking a candidate. “For the sake of beating Donald Trump, we need to come together soon.”
New Jersey Democrats will need a crystal ball of sorts over the next few months.
Organization lines will be bestowed by late March, which means New Jersey party leaders will need to make their pick without the benefit of knowing what will happen in the national political arena in April and May.
It’s possible that a candidate running on a county line will be out of the race before New Jersey’s June presidential primary. That could affect down-ballot races, if non-organization candidates bracket with another candidate for president.
As county chair, the 34-year-old DeGise is a self-identified member of the New Jersey Democratic Party’s progressive wing and a strong supporter of Gov. Phil Murphy.
Still, most progressive leaders are intent on eliminating organization lines completely as a way of curbing the power of party bosses.
Sue Altman, the state director of New Jersey Working Families, rebuffed the idea of counties holding open primaries for president, but not for other offices.
“If having a presidential election highlights the need for eliminate lines, we have to change the way it’s done, top to bottom,” Altman said.
DeGise makes a point of noting that Democratic strongholds like Hudson have a responsibility to help nominate a candidate who can win a national election, noting that the strongest nominee is someone who can compete in places like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
For the last year, Hudson held firmly for Cory Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey who dropped his bid for the presidency on Monday.
The only major official not to endorse Booker was Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who remained neutral but contributed to Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Hudson is the most overwhelmingly Democratic county in New Jersey. Democrats have a 55%-10% voter registration edge and Hillary Clinton carried Hudson by 52 percentage points in 2016.