The National Organization for Women of New Jersey Political Action Committee (NOW-NJ PAC) released a slate of 46 endorsements for state offices today, including Lieutenant Gov. Sheila Oliver and 45 state legislators or state legislative candidates.
The group had previously endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth), and 21st Assembly district candidate Anjali Mehrotra, who is also the president of the organization. All 49 of the candidates the officially nonpartisan NOW-NJ PAC is backing are Democrats.
“New Jersey will truly flourish when our legislature reflects the population of our state,” said Linda Weber, the chair of NOW-NJ PAC, in a statement. “To that end, we are proud to endorse a group of pro-choice, feminist candidates whose diversity will serve our state well.”
A closer look at the list of endorsed candidates, shows some prominent Democrats absent. Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) are both missing, as are 10 of their 27 female Democratic colleagues running for re-election.
The list similarly lacks some non-incumbent Democratic women running in competitive races, such as Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick in the 2nd district and board of education member Allison Eckel in the 8th district.
NOW-NJ also skipped the hotly contested 8th district Senate race between two women candidates, State Sen. Dawn Addiego (R-Evesham) and Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton).
Weber justified the PAC’s decisions in an email to the New Jersey Globe, saying that the PAC sent a questionnaire to every legislative candidate from both parties.
“Our endorsements are a subset of those that we heard back from,” Weber wrote. “If we hear from additional candidates that we consider legislative champions on women’s rights and issues, we may make additional endorsements before November.”
The list of endorsements also includes several male Democratic incumbents, among them State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Delran) and State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch), who will face female Republican challengers in November.
“Senators Gopal and Singleton both have a strong record as primary sponsors on [bills] that NOW New Jersey’s leadership team and members actively advocated for,” Weber wrote. “The NOW NJ PAC is committed to elect feminists who will fight for our issues first and foremost, we expect our endorsed female candidates to espouse the same feminist values we hold.”