’s Weekly Campaign Notebook for March 27

As we get closer to the June 8 primary election, will post a weekly notebook of press releases produced by the candidates.


During a campaign stop in Lakewood March 22, Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign noted Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli refused to wear a mask while greeting employees at a bakery, joining the ranks of a dangerous, anti-science movement and putting public health at risk for a partisan photo-op.

This is Assemblyman Ciattarelli’s second maskless appearance at an indoor campaign event in the last two weeks alone. During a maskless tirade at a Keyport pub on March 14, Ciattarelli, referring to Governor Murphy’s common sense measures to protect public health, stated “Leave it up to the individual. That’s what Republicans believe in.”

Despite Assemblyman Ciattarelli’s Trump-like rejection of science, mask wearing is universally considered by experts to be a critical line of defense against the spread of COVID-19. While this isn’t the first time that Ciattarelli has prioritized partisan pandering over facts, it is a reckless display of arrogance that proves how out-of-touch he is with New Jersey.

“Assemblyman Ciattarelli continues to make it clear that bolstering his own campaign is worth more to him than science and good decision-making,” said Murphy for Governor Spokesman Jerrel Harvey. “The Assemblyman plays by his own set of rules, and the personal responsibility demonstrated by New Jerseyans to save lives doesn’t apply to him. This cavalier approach to COVID-19 not only undermines public health, but is flat out dangerous.”


32BJ SEIU, the largest property services union in the country, with 13,000 members in New Jersey, will again be endorsing incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. This decision comes after a virtual town hall with the Governor and over 300 32BJ members.

During the event, members had the opportunity to ask questions about critical issues that matter to working people—including pandemic response, economic development, transportation, immigrant and civil rights, his commitment to stand with Newark airport workers in their fight for justice, the establishment of a civilian complaint review board, among others.

32BJ SEIU Vice President and New Jersey State Director Kevin Brown made the announcement today on behalf of the union’s members. “Since 2016, we have worked closely with Governor Murphy in instituting important worker protections and progressive policy change. He understands that good jobs build strong communities and the economy.  The minimum wage increase, mandating of paid sick time for workers and ensuring equal pay for equal work are critically important to 32BJ members and all working families in New Jersey,” said Brown.

With the union’s endorsement comes a commitment of significant resources to help a candidate win, including member volunteers and financial support.  32BJ’s New Jersey District includes more than 13,000 members, many of whom have volunteered to canvas and help get out the vote in key national, state and local elections.


Republican frontrunner for governor, Jack Ciattarelli, has been endorsed by State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, showing continued momentum in Morris County and North Jersey. Bucco represents New Jersey’s 25th Legislative District and the residents of Morris and Somerset counties in the New Jersey Senate.

“Governor Murphy has spent his tenure in Trenton pushing higher taxes and more spending, year after year. New Jersey families have struggled under his leadership – from failures with the unemployment system, the chaos at Motor Vehicle, to the poor decisions to move COVID positive patients into our nursing homes. On top of that, this Governor continues to cut millions of dollars in funding to schools in my district,” said Bucco. “We need Jack Ciattarelli as our next Governor to get us back on track. A successful Main Street business owner, he understands how to balance a budget and build our economy back stronger from COVID-19.”

“A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Senator Bucco has been a champion of his community and a great leader for Morris and Somerset counties,” said Ciattarelli. “Fighting for lower taxes, economic development, and fiscal responsibility – Senator Bucco knows what matters most to New Jersey families. With his support, our campaign will continue to work towards solutions that support people from all walks of life across our state.”


As the nation reels from a spree of mass shootings, the Murphy campaign stated Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli has been completely silent because he wants to roll back the nation’s strongest commonsense gun safety laws in New Jersey.

For years, Assemblyman Ciattarelli worked with Chris Christie and the gun lobby to weaken New Jersey’s laws, voting repeatedly against sensible gun safety measures, including mandatory background checks, limits on magazine sizes, and a ban on high-caliber weapons — measures which are overwhelmingly supported by New Jerseyans.

Following a mass shooting in El Paso in 2019 that left 23 dead and 23 others injured, Ciattarelli, a self-described concealed carry advocate who would restore uniformly unfettered access to the Second Amendment, blamed “both sides” for “playing identity politics, which gives rise to intolerance and racism.” Ciattarelli has also vowed to reject any commonsense gun safety measures as governor.

Throughout his career in Trenton, Assemblyman Ciattarelli has shown voters that’s he’s a pro-gun extremist, and he’d be nothing more than a dangerous extension of the Christie agenda.

“New Jerseyans understand that countless lives have been lost to gun violence because career politicians like Assemblyman Ciattarelli have lacked the courage to act,” said Murphy for Governor Spokesman Jerrel Harvey. “His silence following the latest act of violence speaks volumes. It’s clear the Assemblyman is more concerned with the NRA’s endorsement than demonstrating leadership and protecting New Jersey families.”

State Senate and Assembly

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle launched her first campaign ad in her

bid for State Senate in the 37th Legislative District, citing her track record as a proven, progressive leader.

“If I walked away every time a man in power told me to back off, I couldn’t have become a proven, progressive leader in the Assembly. But I never walk away. I delivered real, progressive change for Bergen County.” Vainieri Huttle says in the 30-second spot with running mates Teaneck Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice and Tenafly Council President Lauren Kohn Dayton. “I’m raising my voice and fighting alongside other progressive women.”

The ad is a part of a robust, digital campaign aimed at delivering Valerie’s message and

platform directly to the voters of District 37. The ad builds off the campaign’s momentum after earning several endorsements from progressive organizations such as the Communication Workers of America, New Jersey Working Families Alliance, New Jersey Citizen Action and The Health Professionals and Allied Employees.

The three are running off-the-line against Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, former Tenafly councilwoman Shama Haider and former Englewood Cliffs Councilwoman Ellen Park, who each have the backing of the Democratic Committee of Bergen County.


Teaneck Councilman Michael Santiago Pagan has endorsed Shama Haider and Ellen Park for Assembly to compliment his February endorsement of Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore Gordon Johnson in the District 37 primary.

“One of our greatest strengths in District 37 is our diversity, and this is the most diverse ticket assembled in New Jersey history,” said Pagan who is the first Latino to serve on the Teaneck Township Council. “I worked in the Assembly under three former Speakers and know what it takes to succeed in the halls of Trenton for your constituents. And Haider and Park both have the experience, knowledge and network to succeed and help our District 37 communities through this difficult pandemic.”

Haider, a former Tenafly councilwoman, and Park, a former councilwoman from Englewood Cliffs, face challenges from Teaneck Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice and Tenafly Councilwoman Lauren Kohn Dayton who are running with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in the June 8th primary.

Johnson, who was endorsed by Pagan in February, is running against Huttle due to the upcoming retirement of Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg who is not seeking re-election.

“Gordon Johnson, Shama Haider and Ellen Park represent the future of our 13 communities and the Democratic Party of New Jersey,” said Pagan. “All three have strong relationships with the Latino, Asian-American, Muslim and African-American communities, and all three will fight hard for us to help ease the local property tax burden, fully fund our schools and ensure that Trenton works for us and not the other way around.”


New Jersey Working Families State Director Sue Altman has issued the following statement in response to allegations that Assemblyman Gordon Johnson made inappropriate sexual comments to political advocate Deirdre Paul.

“Here we go again, another day in Trenton. A man in power makes a gross, vulgar ‘joke’ about a woman, and now he has no recollection about it? And, who in politics forgets seeing a email complaint about an allegation of this nature?! Give us a break!,” said Altman. “We demand answers from Assemblyman Johnson about what actually occurred, and, at the very least an apology for this crude, misogynistic comment.”


Bergen County Commissioner Dr. Joan M. Voss issued a statement endorsing Gordon M. Johnson for State Senate as well as his running mates Ellen Park and Shama Haider for State Assembly.

“Throughout our years in the State Assembly together, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and I collaborated on countless initiatives, policy proposals, and community projects. There is no greater advocate or more dedicated official for the people of District 37 than Gordon,” said Voss.

“He has spent his adult life in service to our community, attending our meetings, joining our rallies, and answering our concerns. He has proven to be on the right side of every major democratic initiative whether that is marriage equality, equal pay, or investments in our public education system. Now, together with his trailblazing running mates, Gordon is set to make history as the first Black State Senator, and indeed he should, he has earned it.”


Bergen County Clerk John S. Hogan has endorsed the historic LD-37 Democratic ticket.

“This is a proud day for Bergen County. These three historic candidates are community leaders who are deeply committed to the people of District 37 and represent the very best of the Democratic party,” said Hogan.

“As a resident of District 37, you cannot miss Gordon Johnson. He’s in the community every day, present at every rally or event, and always welcoming to any concerned constituent,” stated Hogan. “I worked hard with him to ensure our Korean American neighbors could receive a ballot in their first language and I’ve long-supported his work to expand access to voting statewide, including the most recent expansion of vote-by-mail in New Jersey. Together with Ellen Park and Shama Haider, there isn’t a more exciting, more inclusive, or more representative ticket in the entire State of New Jersey. I can’t wait for our county to make history in November.”


The Paramus Republicans announced their candidates for the 2021 election. The team consists of two long-time community volunteers eager to service their community in a new role, Ace Antonio and Robert Kaiser

“I am looking forward to helping these great candidates join myself, Jeanne and Joe on the borough council,” said Councilman Chris DiPiazza.

Ace Antonio is a lifelong resident of Paramus and community volunteer. He has been involved with the Paramus 4th of July Committee since 2006 and was appointed as Chairman in 2010. At 18, Ace was elected to the Paramus Board of Education, and was the youngest serving board member in the State of New Jersey. He currently is a Pharmaceutical Sales Professional, part of the NYC Region and worked for Hackensack Meridian Health as an EMT for the Critical Care Transport Team for the past twelve years.

Robert Kaiser is a 26 year Paramus resident and recently retired as the Deputy Chief of the South Hackensack Police Department where he worked for 30 years.. Robert is married to his wife of 29 years, Deborah, and has three children who Amanda, Kyle, and Hailey who all graduated from Paramus High School. Amanda is a graduate of Indiana University, Kyle attends Roger Williams University, and Hailey attends the University of Alabama. He is current owner and manager of R&D Properties. A lifelong community volunteer, he has coached in Paramus for 18 years including Junior Baseball Coach & safety officer, Head Coach Paramus Recreation Football, Director of Paramus Junior Wrestling, and Head Coach Paramus Spartans Club Soccer.


Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty announced his re-election bid.

“Over the last year, we have faced unprecedented times with extraordinary challenges while at the same time we rallied together as a community,” said Dougherty as he announced plans to see re-election to another four year term. “We have kept Morristown moving forward and together we have achieved meaningful success

over the last four years.”

Rounding out his Democratic municipal slate will be Councilwoman Toshiba Foster, Councilman David Silva and active community volunteer Nathan Umbriac.

All four will be seeking nomination in the June 8 Democratic primary.

Outlining what is expected to be the campaign platform, Dougherty said: “Together we have put Morristown first by expanding our parks and open space, improving services and stabilizing our taxes. Our administration successfully introduced five budgets that decreased the municipal tax rate, created affordable housing, preserved 11 acres of open space, created a community garden, and new pocket parks in Town,” he noted.

Councilwoman Toshiba Foster added: “It has been an honor to serve Morristown residents over the last eight years. We have and will continue to strive to make Morristown more affordable and have successfully worked on several public safety initiatives. I am excited for continuing the progress.”

“Since joining the Council we have worked diligently and tirelessly to improve our parks, safeguard quality of life and attract new small businesses to our Downtown” stated Councilman David Silva. “But there is still a lot that we need to work on to build upon our success.”

As a member of the Democratic team, Nathan Umbriac, a long-time community volunteer as a board member of Interfaith Food Pantry, Morristown Housing Authority, and Environmental Commission, stated, “I am enthusiastic to join such a dynamic ticket of leaders in our community. They have constantly fought to do the best for all residents and I look forward to working alongside them to continue the progress” he said.

“Together we have made great strides, but there is always more we can do,” Mayor Dougherty stated. “Together we will always put Morristown first.”


The leaders of two Latino Organizations, El Circulo Hispano Americano and Comite Internacional Pro-Ayuda al Municipo de Boca Chica, announced endorsements of Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla for re-election. 

Martin Peralta, President of El Circulo Hispano Americano, and Juan V. Serrano, President of Comite Internacional Pro-Ayuda al Municipo de Boca Chica, pointed to his proactive leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic as a major reason for receiving their backing.

“Mayor Bhalla’s active and caring leadership ensured that Hoboken’s older residents and other vulnerable members of the community received the best possible protections from the virus,” said Martin Peralta, President of El Circulo Hispano Americano, which has been active in Hoboken for decades.  “He has led the way on safety protocols, on testing and on speeding the availability of vaccinations, always putting the health of Hoboken residents first.”

Juan V. Serrano, President of Comite Internacional Pro-Ayuda al Municipo de Boca Chica, said, “Ravi Bhalla is an outstanding Mayor who we can count on to deliver for all the residents of Hoboken. During the pandemic, Hoboken has stood out of an example of how to address the impacts of the virus on all fronts, including providing hands-on assistance to vulnerable residents and to small businesses.”

Mayor Ravi Bhalla said, “It is an honor that these Latino leaders are recognizing the hard work that we continue to do on COVID-19 and other challenges facing the city. I look forward to continuing to work together with them to ensure our most vulnerable residents are protected and to improve the quality of life for every Hoboken resident.”

El Circulo Hispano Americano is a Hoboken-based recreational organization, that operates a soft ball league and also provides assistance to those in need in the community. It is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.  Comite Internacional Pro-Ayuda al Municipo de Boca Chica provides assistance to local residents and to people who are struggling in the municipality of  Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

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