EVESHAM — There were few surprises Tuesday night when the Burlington County Democratic Committee endorsed its full slate of candidates for the June primary.
At the top of the party's column will be gubernatorial favorite Phil Murphy. The former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. ambassador to Germany was awarded the county party's endorsement over Democratic rivals during the committee's convention Tuesday at the Gibson House community center.
The decision was not surprising as Murphy has emerged as the party's clear front-runner since the fall when Jersey City Mayor Stephen Fulop and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd of West Deptford, both decided not to run.
The other Democrats running for governor include Assemblyman John Wisniewski, state Sen. Ray Lesniak and Jim Johnson, a former Treasury official in President Bill Clinton's administration.
"With Phil Murphy, Burlington County’s Democrats know they have a candidate who will be a champion for our working families and a check against Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda,” Burlington County Democratic Chairman Joe Andl said in a statement. “Phil has put together the strongest platform for making our economy not only work again, but make it fair again. And he has proven that no part of our state will be overlooked, and that he will be the governor for all nine million residents.”
In addition to picking Murphy in the governor's race, the county party also endorsed candidates for the state Legislature and county freeholders.
In the legislative races, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, of Palmyra, was awarded the party line in his race for the open 7th District Senate seat of retiring Republican Diane Allen, of Edgewater Park. The endorsement was expected after fellow 7th District Assemblyman Herb Conaway, of Delran, decided to run for re-election for his Assembly seat rather than challenge Singleton for the Senate nomination.
The party endorsed Conaway to return to the Assembly, and named Mount Laurel's Carol Murphy as the preferred Democrat to run for Singleton's seat.
Moorestown pediatrician Jennifer Chuang has also announced her candidacy for one of the district's two Assembly seats. If she files, she will have to run off the official Burlington County Democrats line on the primary ballot.
The filing deadline is April 3.
Murphy, who serves as director of policy and communication for Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera, D-4th of Gloucester Township, said she was humbled and honored to have the county Democratic Committee's support.
"I am so proud to run with Assemblymen Singleton and Conaway. They have been so supportive throughout the selection process and I look forward to serving with them in Trenton fighting for Burlington County," she said.
The Republicans picked Riverside Committeeman Rob Prisco to run for the open Senate seat, and Octavia Scott, of Florence, and Mike Piper, of Delran, to challenge for the 7th district's Assembly seats.
The Democrats also named a full slate of candidates to run in the 8th District.
George Youngkin, of Medford, was endorsed to challenge for the district Senate's seat, which is now held by Republican Dawn Marie Addiego, of Evesham. Former Freeholder Joanne Schwartz, of Southampton, and Waterford resident Maryanne Merlino were tapped to run for the Assembly seats held by Republicans Maria Rodriguez-Gregg and Joe Howarth, both of Evesham.
Both Rodriguez-Gregg and Howarth were endorsed by the GOP Monday night.
In the county freeholders race, the Democrats endorsed newcomer Balvir Singh, of Burlington Township, and Tom Pullion, of Edgewater Park, to challenge for the seats of incumbent Republicans Bruce Garganio and Linda Hughes.
Pullion previously ran unsuccessfully for freeholder in 2014. Singh is a math teacher in the Burlington City School District and an adjunct instructor at Rowan College at Burlington County.