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Wisniewski Might Be Ready to Give Murphy a Run for His Money

Thursday, October 27, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aidan Sander
Share | 10/27/16

A second candidate has officially stepped into the ring for the Democratic nomination for governor — well, sort of. Although he has been consistently touted as a possible contender for the nomination, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) is now doing more than just testing the waters. He filed paperwork this week setting up a committee to raise money for a campaign — technically making him a candidate for the office, at least in the eyes of the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Wisniewski’s announcement adds some life to a Democratic primary that by many measures and some accounts is over without having ever really begun. Phil Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive, became the odds-on favorite in the race earlier this month, after securing the endorsements of several Democratic county chairmen in the northern and central parts of the state and most of party’s leadership in Trenton.

Wisniewski remains one of the last men standing of that group of potential Murphy challengers, which also might yet include State Investment Council Chairman and Princeton lawyer Tom Byrne. But unlike Byrne, who would likely occupy the centrist role opposite the more progressive Murphy in a statewide primary, Wisniewski seems to be fashioning himself as the progressive alternative.

Wisniewski has led efforts for some liberal causes in the Legislature, calling earlier this year for an increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15, voting to fund Planned Parenthood last year, and lobbying for a 25-cent increase in the gas tax -- 2 cents more than the hike included in a bill passed by the Legislature this month — to fund the depleted Transportation Trust Fund.

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