Progressive contenders endorse Lesniak

Lisa McCormick

Monica Brinson

A crowded field of contenders in the race for governor has gotten smaller as several candidates decided to endorse Senator Raymond Lesniak instead of pursuing their own candidacies as the contest for the Democratic nomination for governor heads into its final leg.

LGBT activist Paul Binetti and Lisa McCormick, a feminist who has a large following among Bernie Sanders supporters in the state, and Monica Brinson have endorsed Lesniak rather than continue their campaigns to replace Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Lesniak is challenging Wall Street billionaire Philip D. Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs partner who critics say has bought up support from the entire Democratic political establishment and yet failed to attain more than a quarter of the electorate’s support despite a year of concentrated television advertising.

Paul Binetti, second from left, said he decided to support Senator Ray Lesniak, second from right, instead of pursuing his own candidacy after meeting the lawmaker at a gubernatorial candidate debate in Jersey City.

“Not having the resources to continue this campaign puts me in the category of people with good ideas with no likely chance of winning,” said McCormick. “This must change. Unlike most candidates who give up after not winning the nomination, I am continuing our fight by throwing my support to the best candidate on the ballot.”

Binetti said he intends to be “very active” on behalf of the senator, who sponsored legislation to legalize same sex marriage in New Jersey. Binetti, River Edge nightclub manager who is gay, met Lesniak at a Jersey City gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by two LGBT groups, Jersey City Stands and Garden State Equality.

Two primary debates for the state’s highest political office will be streamed live on Facebook from Stockton University, a unique concept that helped the institution’s bid to publicize this year’s governor’s race.

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission on Tuesday selected Stockton to host one Republican and another Democratic primary gubernatorial debate at the university’s Campus Center Theatre, which seats 254. An additional 500 people can watch a closed-circuit screen from the adjacent Campus Center Event Room. No dates have been set.

But anybody can watch live on Facebook, a Stockton proposal that intrigued the board of the election commission, said Jeff Brindle, executive director of ELEC.


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