Riding a wave of support from NJEA members, Phil Murphy scored a decisive victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary today. The win secured his place on the ballot for November, where he will square off against Chris Christie’s Lt. Governor, Kim Guadagno, (or Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli) in the race to replace Christie in the governor’s office.
Murphy’s primary win came nine months after NJEA shook up the election by announcing plans to make an unusually early endorsement in the gubernatorial primary. The unanimous vote by NJEA’s PAC Operating Committee on October 8, 2016 to endorse Murphy set off a wave of other endorsements that propelled him into a lead that he never surrendered.
NJEA’s endorsement came with a commitment to support Murphy’s campaign, and NJEA members stepped up to do that. In April, NJEA delivered over 6,800 signatures to place Murphy on the primary ballot. Additionally, members canvassed, made phone calls and communicated with fellow members about the pro-education positions that had earned Murphy the NJEA endorsement.
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer congratulated the Murphy campaign on the win. “The NJEA members on the PAC Operating Committee unanimously endorsed Ambassador Murphy in this primary as well as the general election, and it’s clear that we made the right decision. He is running a progressive, pro-public education campaign that clearly resonates with the public and represents the right direction for New Jersey.”
NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan praised NJEA members for their work to achieve this win. “NJEA members know how important the next governor is, and we are fully committed to electing Ambassador Murphy. We are volunteering our time to work on this because we know that electing a pro-public education governor will make a difference for our profession, our students and our public schools. Phil Murphy will be that governor.”
NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Sean M. Spiller promised that NJEA members will continue working hard to elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot. “NJEA members know that we have to elect the right people if we want to achieve the right policies to strengthen our schools and our profession. We aren’t willing to wait for the right people to get elected. We are going to work to get them elected.”
NJEA continues to await results in other endorsed primary races.