Following an endorsement from the Atlantic County Democratic organization, New Jersey gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy is renewing his promise to end the state takeover of the area’ economic hub of Atlantic City. The takeover of the troubled resort town’s finances was effected at the insistence of Republican governor Chris Christie and Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney last year.
The endorsement is another gain for Murphy in a state where county endorsements determine which candidate gets pride of place at the top of the ballot, a crucial advantage in the primary.
“The challenges facing Atlantic County are unlike those in other communities, and I am running for governor because the people here need real leadership from Trenton that is committed to them and their futures,” Murphy said. “I look forward to running alongside a strong Democratic ticket, and with thousands of grassroots Democrats, who will be my partners in meeting these challenges head-on.”
The city, once a major source of revenue for the state budget, saw its ratable base decline by half over the last decade due to out-of-state competition and the closure of many of its casinos. Murphy’s chief primary rival, progressive Assemblyman John Wisniewski, has also been harsh in his criticism of the takeover.
“Atlantic County’s Democrats are proud to support Phil because he has taken the time to get to know us and the vital issues facing our residents,” said county chairman Mike Suleiman. “From the need for real economic revitalization, to ending the Atlantic City takeover, to tackling our foreclosure crisis and opioid epidemic, Phil understands the issues and is coming forward with real solutions. Atlantic County’s Democrats are united behind Phil and will work with him to grow our party and win in both June and November.”
Murphy also secured the endorsements of Ocean and Hunterdon County Democrats over the weekend. A Quinnipac poll found last week that Murphy has the lead in both the primary and the general election.