Lesniak enlists Clinton for re-election effort as two sides clash in Union County Dem Primary

State Sen. Nick Sacco had to fend off a phony robocall from a faux former Prez Bill Clinton earlier this week, right around the same time that the real former president’s voice was descending on Elizabeth and the environs of the 20th Legislative District.

“He personalized it to my running mates and me, and it went out Monday night,” Lesniak said. “This came right from the horse’s mouth. The former president is a friend of mine. Remember, I had Clinton over to my house – when he was president – to fundraise for the N.J. Assembly Democrats. They asked him why and he said ‘I’m doing it because Ray Lesniak asked me to do it.”

In the aftermath of an equally personalized redistricting hearings process in which local foes jabbed at Lesniak and his team, questioning Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan (D-Union) directly over Latino representation in the district or lack thereof, in their view, Lesniak, Cryan and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) are running a shoe leather campaign with four weeks until Election Day and the Democratic Primary.

On the other side, a team backed by former School Board President Rafael Fajardo consisting of School Administrator Jerome Dunn, former School Board Member Tony Monteiro and Elizabeth Councilman Carlos Cedeno, appears energized. Sources say the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is poised to endorse a split ticket: Democrats Cryan and Quijano for Assembly, and Dunn for Senate – in response to Lesniak’s prime sponsorship of the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a vouchers pilot program. 

“Our polls show I have a 25% lead and Cryan and Quijano have a 15% lead but we’re not going to rest on our laurels,” said the veteran state senator. 

Democrats are eager to learn more about the opposition’s fundraising figures. They report having seen four mailings to date. Fajardo’s allies say the Clinton robocall was but one example of the incumbents’ aggressive pushback against a well-organized challenge. Lesniak enlists Clinton for re-election effort as two sides clash in Union County Dem Primary