Newsletter 8-4-21

This week, NJ 11th for Change proudly released its 2021 candidate endorsements!  

What?!? MORE elections? you ask. 

Yes, more elections. It’s New Jersey. We like elections here. 

For politicians and for activists, that means one thing: no rest for the weary.

Top of the ticket in 2021 is the race for governor, and there are lots of state, county and municipal races that require our attention, too. NJ 11th for Change chose to endorse in the races for:

  • COUNTY COMMISSIONER (for the counties in CD11 territory)
  • STATE SENATE (for the legislative districts in CD 11 territory)
  • STATE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (for the legislative districts in CD 11 territory)

That amounts to twenty-four different races, with seventy-seventy different candidates to consider. GULP. 

Is it a ballot, or a CVS receipt?

We sent a detailed, issue-based questionnaire to each serious contender, giving both Dem and GOP candidates a chance to show off their best features. Then the responses were shared with our Endorsement Committee — over six hundred members who have shown their commitment to NJ 11th for Change’s goals by volunteering or providing financial support to our group over the past year — and their votes were tallied. 

We are thrilled that the endorsed candidates received overwhelming support from our committee. It speaks to their strength as candidates, and their alignment with our group’s shared values.

Listen to many of the civic movers and shakers we endorsed as they discuss their campaigns at our endorsement event.

In the meantime, here's a quick rundown:

The Race for Governor

Governor Phil Murphy was endorsed for re-election by over 99% of our committee! We appreciate the certainty and clarity of purpose this gives us as we move into the election season. The governor appreciates it, too:

"I'm grateful to the members of NJ 11th for Change for this exciting endorsement," said Governor Murphy. "We share a deep passion and commitment to a New Jersey that is both stronger and fairer, with equal opportunity for all. Their successful advocacy efforts and voter education programs in the 11th Congressional District, and beyond, speak volumes to the power of grassroots organizing, and I'm thrilled to have their support."

Given that Murphy’s opponent (anti-choice, anti-vax, anti-LGBTQ, pro-gun, pro-Trump Jack Ciattarelli) is tacking hard to the right after winning the GOP primary, we are all revved up to support Governor Murphy in his re-election campaign. Possibly the most progressive governor in the nation, he has advanced many causes that are near to our hearts, and has consistently shown himself to be open to dialogue. We are impressed with what he has gotten done so far — during a pandemic, no less! Check out our endorsement announcement for an impressive list of his first-term accomplishments, and please keep an eye on this newsletter and our social media accounts for volunteer opportunities to help his campaign! 

Down-Ballot Races

The “top of ticket” governor’s race was just the beginning for our studious endorsement committee. We know that many voters ignore down-ballot races; they just don’t seem important enough, especially in comparison to 2020’s historic presidential election. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Government starts from the ground up. 

Our opponents know this, and they are gunning for state and local races. (That’s how the Tea Party built its powerful foundation, and we all know how that turned out.) Trump or no Trump, state legislatures across the country are being hijacked by the far right. Ultraconservative statehouses are putting in overtime to gut voter protection policies, women’s rights, sensible public health measures, minority rights, and much of the progress we’ve made on social justice issues. County and municipal races are training grounds for these state offices, allowing well-funded political cabals to groom new candidates that can later rise through the ranks.

What does that mean? It means every line on your ballot matters.

Even now, there are highly organized far-right organizations like this and this and this that are gunning for New Jersey's municipal school boards and town councils, importing out-of-towners to instigate loudmouthed public brawls about national dog-whistle issues at our own municipal meetings. 

It has happened in Randolph. It has happened in Wayne. In Chatham Township and Chatham Borough, too. They’re coming.

Participants at Wayne's July 15 BOE meetingSee anyone you know?
Jack shows up. BE LIKE JACK!

We can’t snooze. We have to fight their incursions every inch of the way. The most important way to do that is by supporting strong, like-minded down-ballot candidates. Including these:

County Commissioners

County Commissioners wield a great deal of power in our local governments. They decide how county projects are prioritized, and which initiatives receive funding. For the commissioner positions open in Morris, Passaic, and Sussex counties, we are proud to endorse:

  • MORRIS COUNTY: Thomas “T.C.” McCourt, Dina Mikulka, and Aaron “A.J.” Oliver (Dem)
  • PASSAIC COUNTY: Assad Akhter, John Bartlett, and Cassandra “Sandi” Lazzara (Dem)
  • SUSSEX COUNTY: Scott Paul and Michael “Mike” Vrabel (Dem)

To learn more, click here

State Legislature: The State Senate and the General Assembly

Legislators in the Senate and General Assembly determine what policies become New Jersey state law. They can make things happen, or make everything grind to a halt — in Trenton, and across New Jersey. We are proud to endorse the following candidates for the state legislature:

SENATE:     Joseph Signorello III (D)
ASSEMBLY: Elizabeth A. Graner (D) and Anjali Mehrotra (D)

ASSEMBLY: Scott P. Fadden (D)

SENATE:     Jeffrey Grayzel (D)
ASSEMBLY: Lauren Barnett (D) and Patricia L. Veres (D)

SENATE:     Christine Clarke (D)
ASSEMBLY: Melissa Brown Braeuer (D) and Pamela Fadden (D)

SENATE:     Richard J. Codey (D)
ASSEMBLY: Mila M. Jasey (D) and John F. McKeon (D)

SENATE:     Ronald L. Rice (D)
ASSEMBLY: Ralph R. Caputo (D) and Cleopatra G. Tucker (D)

SENATE:     Nia H. Gill, Esq. (D)
ASSEMBLY: Thomas P. Giblin (D) and Britnee N. Timberlake (D)

SENATE:     Nellie Pou (D)
ASSEMBLY: Shavonda E. Sumter (D) and Benjie E. Wimberly (D)

SENATE:     Ruth Dugan (D)
ASSEMBLY: Melinda Ianuzzi (D) and Karlito Almeda (D)

SENATE:     Michael Sedon (D)
ASSEMBLY: Genevieve Allard (D) and Nicole McNamara (D)

We are deeply impressed by the talent and experience these candidates offer, and by their commitment to the people of their districts. Electing them to the NJ State Legislature will help us emerge from this challenging time stronger, more prosperous, more unified and more secure. To learn more, click here

What Can We Do?

If we want to keep New Jersey moving forward, it's time to shift into high gear! We will be sharing lots of campaign-related volunteer opportunities in the EVENTS & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES sections of upcoming newsletters. No matter what you like to do — canvassing, text banking, postcarding, or phone banking — we'll have something for you. November is coming fast. Let's turn out and provide people-power to support candidates at all levels! And if you can make a donation to NJ 11th for Change to help fund our upcoming texting and postcarding campaigns, please do! 

Are you ready to make a difference? Will you help? It’s going to be a busy election season!


For a shareable list of all endorsed candidates,
including gubernatorial and county commissioner races,
please visit Candidate Endorsements 2021.



Donate Monthly

Donate Once

Your contributions make our work possible! In 2020, donations allowed us to make almost 160,000 voter contacts in New Jersey's 11th congressional district; our efforts were a big part of making 11 towns flip from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020, including some historically deep-red municipalities. Even Morris County turned blue!

Your generous donation goes towards our data analysis and voter-file access, text banking expenses, support for our events, printing, and much more. It allows us to continue our work building a government that is transparent, responsive and accountable. Please visit our "DONATE" link and pledge any amount. Every contribution helps as we charge ahead into 2021 and beyond!