Sweeney backing Jones in Democratic state chair fight: ‘I think LeRoy unites the party’

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Although it isn’t a shock, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) is backing LeRoy Jones in his bid to unseat John Currie as the New Jersey Democratic State Committee chair.

“Well, look, I support LeRoy Jones, I’ve known him a long time: I think LeRoy unites the party. Obviously this divide has taken place during Chairman Currie’s term,” Sweeney told HCV after an NJ Transit Senate Committee hearing at the Hoboken Terminal last night.

“Listen, I was the one who endorsed him [Currie] to be the chair last time. It’s time to bring the party together. We’re Democrats, we fight, it happens, you know that. But I think it’s time for new leadership so that we can come together.”

Jones, the Essex County Democratic Committee Chair, and Currie, also the Passaic County Democratic Committee Chair, both announced they were seeking the post with the statewide organization on Tuesday after weeks of speculation.

Both candidates emphasized that they believe they have the votes to win, where 49.5 is the magic number out of 113 NJDSC votes.

However, Jones is widely reported to have the upper hand after he received the surprise endorsement of Ocean County Democratic Chair Wyatt Earp, NJ Globe first wrote.

Nevertheless, Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who has battled with Sweeney on a multitude of issues during his first two years in office, remains a staunch supporter of Currie and NJDSC Vice Chair Peg Schaffer – evidence in an email blast sent out yesterday morning.

“If you support me, if you support my agenda of making our state stronger and fairer, and if you support Democratic Party unity, then you must also support John Currie and Peg Schaffer,” Murphy wrote.

“We must stand up to this attack on the grassroots activists, loyal Democrats and party leaders who work hard year after year to elect Democrats. The entire state, and even the nation, is watching this decision. I ask that you stand with me in supporting John and Peg.”

Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise endorsed Currie, the NJSDC chair since 2013, back in December, calling him an “incredible mentor.”

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