Democratic gubernatorial candidate visits East Orange

EAST ORANGE, NJ — New Jersey Democratic Party 2017 gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy came through Essex County this week, making a tour ahead of the Democratic Party primary on Tuesday, June 6, making stops in Irvington on Sunday, May 7, and East Orange on Monday, May 8.

Murphy met with 2017 East Orange mayoral candidate Ted Green and his Green Team in 2017 slate of running mates, as well as East Orange Democratic Committee Chairman and Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones and the rest of the East Orange Democratic Committee at the Cicely Tyson School of the Performing and Fine Arts on Monday, May 8, just days after Green’s campaign headquarters opening on Tuesday, May 2. Green is also the current City Council chairman and incumbent 3rd Ward councilman, in addition to working as the Irvington Building Department director in Mayor Tony Vauss’ administration.

But Monday, May 8, wasn’t the first time Murphy has appeared in East Orange; last year, during Green and 5th Ward Councilman Mustafa Brent’s Inter-Faith Dinner event in City Hall Plaza, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive came out to show his support for diversity, multiculturalism, freedom of religion and people’s right to publicly assemble. He also showed up unexpectedly on Monday, Jan. 2, at the East Orange City Council’s annual reorganization meeting to show his support for Green, Jones and the rest of the East Orange Democratic Committee.

East Orange is a predominantly Democratic Party town, which means whichever candidate wins the municipal primary elections is practically guaranteed to win the November general election. Party politics and the role of the EODC are especially relevant in the town, and candidates that challenge the party by running off the Democratic line often lose.

“East Orange and Essex County stand behind Phil Murphy for governor – he shares our goals and values for cities and towns with a particular focus on working class families, students and young professionals,” said Green and Jones in a joint statement that was issued on Tuesday, May 9th. “His vision is aligned with our plan for progress. His coming to East Orange sends a strong and clear message for his support of the Line A Team and to the citizens of East Orange that he values our input and how we can contribute to a better New Jersey.”

Green and Jones also echoed former Irvington Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal’s statement and sentiment that “politics is about relationships” saying East Orange has a very good relationship with New Jersey’s next governor.

“Our priorities are important to him and his administration,” said Green on May 9. “We are especially interested in working with him on housing foreclosures, economic development, criminal justices and public safety and jobs. For these reasons and more, we support Phil Murphy and encourage East Orange residents to join us.”

Murphy has to prevail in a crowded Democratic primary election field in order to do so. The field includes Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Assemblyman Raymond Lesniak and former Montclair resident Jim Johnson, who is also the only black candidate running for governor of New Jersey in 2017. All the Democratic Party candidates seeking to succeed Gov. Chris Christie have appeared before the People’s Organization for Progress, after being invited to speak by Chairman Larry Hamm.

“They’ve all been here,” said P.O.P. member and Irvington NAACP member Ed Kaiser on Thursday, April 6, during Murphy’s appearance at the local grassroots social and economic justice group’s weekly meeting in Abyssinian Baptist Church in Newark. “Wisniewski was here last week. Now this guy’s here this week. Who knows who’ll be here next week?”

“I’m a Democrat and I’m running for governor of the great state of New Jersey,” said Murphy on Jan. 2. “I say this all the time: As cities like East Orange, go so goes the state of New Jersey. I’m a huge fan.”