Primary Day is more important that Election Day this year in three contested races in North Jersey.
The truth is in races in the 26th, 37th and 39th legislative districts, the winners will most likely go on to win in November. That is why it is so important for Republicans and Democrats eligible to vote in this election—which is a whole other matter for another day—to get to the polls.
The fact of the matter is because New Jersey holds elections for the State Assembly and Senate—and this year Governor—on an off-cycle from Federal office, a lower turnout occurs. As a result, a even smaller number of voters are deciding who will run in the general election.
The race that we have covered most extensively pits two sitting Assembly members in a winner take all State Senate battle to replace the retiring Loretta Weinberg—Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Gordon Johnson. We announced our support for Vainieri Huttle in May as we feel her record of accomplishment and leadership is what the 37th Legislative District and the state needs. Voters should back her running mates, Teaneck Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice and Tenafly Council President Lauren Kohn Dayton, as well.
The Johnson campaign has been underwhelming in our eyes. From the party having to jettison their first choices for Assembly to his New Jersey Globe debate performance and finishing with a Johnson campaign official stating that Vainieri Huttle has run a racist campaign to diminish the Assemblyman, Johnson has not made us believe he is able to fill the shows of the progressive icon Weinberg.
Much like Vainieri Huttle, BettyLou DeCroce in the 26th is facing an uphill battle as she did not receive the backing of Morris County Republicans in her bid to be the party’s nominee to return to the Assembly. DeCroce has been a mainstream Republican and is the type of representative the party should be looking to not jettison but build with.
As for the 39th, State Sen. Holly Schelpi is looking to secure power after her own bitter battle with an Assembly colleague for Senate. Schelpi is attempting to oust Assemblymembers and party choices Robert Auth and DeAnne C. DeFuccio with Saddle River Councilman John Azzariti and former Saddle River GOP Municipal Chairman Jon Kurpis.
We threw our support behind DeFuccio in this race due to the disturbing trend this election cycle of party leaders looking to sideline women with records of achievement for no apparent reason other than they could. Trenton needs more women—and women of color for that matter—than less.
So whatever party you have aligned with, get out and vote in the June 8 primary. In three North Jersey races, your vote is more influential than it will be in November.