TEANECK – Following his endorsement of former Ambassador Phil Murphy for governor in 2017, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) spoke about some of the potential implications of that endorsement. Johnson’s comments came after a Wednesday town hall event with Murphy at a Teaneck rec center.
According to Johnson, it is too soon to comment about whether or not he would consider running off the line for reelection in 2017 in Bergen County if county Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato decides to back another candidate for governor. Johnson said that an open primary where Bergen does not have a specific line is a possibility in June.
“I don’t know about that plan. I haven’t thought that far yet,” Johnson said regarding whether or not he would go off the line. “In recognizing that there may be an open primary in the county—I am not sure that is going to happen but it is a possibility—where there are no lines, I will cross that bridge when we come to it.”
When asked if he is committed to running again, Johnson said: “I have publicly endorsed Phil Murphy so wherever that takes me in the near future we will have to see.”
The state senator from Johnson’s district Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) was also present at Murphy’s Wednesday night event. The senator said she was not yet prepared to make an endorsement despite the fact that he district-mate announced for Murphy.
“I want to get through this November election,” said Weinberg about why she is not yet prepared to decide who she feels will best fill the position of governor. “Once, hopefully, Hillary Clinton gets sworn in as the new president of the United States we can focus on the gubernatorial.”
The senator said that her decision to attend Wednesday’s event stemmed from the fact that it was located in her hometown of Teaneck.
“I wanted to be here first of all because it is Teaneck and it is where I live and where I work. Out of respect I wanted to be here to hear the ambassador speak. I think he did a tremendous job and I think he impressed the audience here,” Weinberg said.
While the senator did not say who she would be endorsing, she did say that this election will potentially mark an important shift for New Jersey.
“These are problems that those of us in the legislature know very well,” Weinberg said of issues that Murphy touched upon including economy, environment and minimum wage. “Because we have this enormously strong position of governor under our constitution, it is very very difficult to get anything done with this governor [Chris Christie] standing in the way. I think that Phil did a great job outlining the problems and talking about the investment we have to make in our future.”
Other likely 2017 primary candidates include Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Senate President Steve Sweeney, among others. Currently, Murphy is the only Democratic candidate to officially announce his intention to pursue the governorship.