3 gubernatorial candidates address Progressive Hunterdon Democrats

Three Democratic gubernatorial candidates could not be bothered to attend a forum sponsored by Progressive Hunterdon Democrats but three others — Senator Raymond Lesniak, Bill Brennan and Mark Zinna, each appealed for support at the Stangl Factory in Flemington.

During the discussion, Lesniak said Gov. Chris Christie made a deal with ExxonMobil “that gave away a $9.2 billion claim for $225 million” and said he’s taking the oil company and Republican state officials to court to overturn the settlement.

“I’m going to win that case,” Lesniak said.

Zinna expressed concern about what he called “the institutionalized corruption in this state.”

“It is decrepit. It is falling apart,” said Zinna, of the statehouse in Trenton. “It symbolizes what’s been happening in this state, and how our elected representatives and the county bosses have neglected the people of this state … that needs to stop.

“The thing that bothers me most, is the way the non-democratic process of this nomination … this election, this nomination, is effectively being over-run with cash and being bought by the front runner in this race. And it’s wrong,” Zinna said.

“The voters are angry … we better start paying attention,” Zinna said.

Brennan discussed a number of criminal complaints he filed against Christie “for his role in the Bridgegate scandal.”

Although Brennan convinced two judges that there was “probable cause” to believe in Christie’s guilt, those complaints were dismissed by prosecutors who were appointed by the governor.

Brennan warned that, “We’re no longer living in a free society when the power of government can be used against a citizen to force them, or coerce them.”

The forum was moderated by Steve Chernoski, a Lambertville resident who is a teacher, writer, and film director.

Surrogates stood in for two of the absent contenders, John Wisniewski and Phil Murphy. Wisniewski was represented by his wife, Debbie, and the head of former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s campaign for president in New Jersey, Mike Beson, spoke on behalf of Murphy.

Former US Treasury undersecretary James Johnson was not among

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