New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie hopes that next month’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) will see a “unified” Democratic Party, despite the recent report from Blue Jersey that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ NJ Campaign Chair John Wisniewski was removed as a New Jersey member of the DNC this past weekend.
According to Currie, Wisniewski not being reappointed to the DNC will not impact his participation in this year’s convention in Philadelphia. He said that his decision to not recommend Wisniewski for another term is in no way tied to the assemblyman’s Sanders affiliation.
“John Wisniewski will be a member of this convention delegation. His term expires at the end of this convention,” Currie said. “What I have done—as every other chairman has done—is we make recommendations of appointments we want to make to those six seats. So I made some new appointments. It had nothing to do with the senator’s campaign. It is the chairman’s prerogative to recommend members.”
According to Currie, he recommended John Graham and Bernadette McPherson in place of Wisniewski and his fellow Sanders supporter Reni Erdos. Currie also said the new recommendations were unanimously approved by the Democratic State Committee.
As reported by Blue Jersey, Wisniewski had expressed a desire to be reappointed.
“These seats are seats that many, many good members in New Jersey would like to hold and there are only six of them,” Currie said. “I could have recommended easily 10 to 20 new people. This is something that is common not only in New Jersey but around the country. You can make changes, it is not personal. I just have other people who dedicated Democrats. Check Mr. Graham’s record out. Check Bernadette McPherson’s record out.”
For Currie, party unity behind Clinton moving forward is critical.
“We had a highly contested primary between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders and now that it is over I am working to unify the Democratic Party behind Secretary Clinton,” Currie told PolitickerNJ. “I look forward to sharing our vision and our values as we go forward and continue to break down barriers for everyday New Jerseyans as well as the American people.”
Currie said that the delegation traveling to Philadelphia from NJ is one of the largest in the country with 142 members. About 50 Sanders delegates including Wisniewski will be at the DNC.
According to Currie, over 900 New Jersey Democrats travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2012 convention. With this year’s DNC being held right over the NJ border in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Currie said he expects New Jersey to have strong representation at the convention.
“They don’t all get on the convention floor but there are so many activities and caucus meetings and events going on,” Currie said. “I am expecting us to have a large delegation. We have set up a nonprofit to accommodate many of these people that will be putting on different activities throughout the convention.”
New Jersey’s delegation in July will consist of district delegates (elected on the ballot), delegates appointed by the State Committee and at-large delegates. The State Committee also appoints people to the standing committees in the Democratic Party: the bylaws committee, the rules committee and the platform committee.
Currie told PolitickerNJ that he believes the DNC will be an opportunity to create a strong platform for the Democratic Party that benefits all Americans fairly.
“We need to continue the hard-earned progress made by President Obama,” Currie said. “We need to encourage opportunities and fairness to all. We will go in with one united front that we are here to elect the next president of the United States: Hillary Clinton. It is going to be a fantastic experience for a lot of new people.”
Secretary Clinton won New Jersey’s primary by about a 27-point margin over Sanders. Her support in the Garden State is strong with Wisniewski being the only Democratic legislator to publicly back Sanders over Clinton.