Following an announcement from Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) Thursday morning that he will not be pursuing the Democratic nomination in 2017’s gubernatorial race, Sweeney’s Bergen County allies announced that they too will be endorsing former U.S. ambassador Phil Murphy’s campaign.
A release from the Democratic Committee of Bergen County said that Senators Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Paul Sarlo (D-36) and Bob Gordon (D-38) will join Bergen County Democratic Party Chairman Lou Stellato in offering their official vote of confidence to Murphy, whose strategy of courting municipal Democrats in the state’s most populous county gave him a clear path to victory last week when North Jersey rival Steve Fulop endorsed.
The Bergen Democrats, the release said, will be supporting Sweeney for another two-year term as Senate President following his reelection bid in his South Jersey district.
Saying that they are “pleased that the Bergen County Democratic Party is unified in supporting Ambassador Murphy,” the four wrote in the joint statement they look forward to “continuing to serve as members of the Senate Democratic Leadership team with Senate President Sweeney during the next legislative term, along with Democratic Governor Phil Murphy.”
With Fulop and Sweeney out of the race, Murphy is the odds-on favorite in a race that includes Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-35).