New Jersey is one of only two states (the other being Virginia) where the governorship is up for grabs this year. While the Democratic primary has several candidates, it is shaping up to be a two-person race. Multimillionaire Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, is the establishment Democrats’ pick. He secured the endorsements of many party bosses long before the primary was even underway, as he announced and began funding his candidacy 18 months before the General Election. Murphy’s main challenger is assemblyman of 21 years, John Wisniewski. Wisniewski is the assemblyman responsible for blowing up Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, and was the NJ Campaign Chair for the Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primary.
Unlike Wisniewski, Murphy is not running a grassroots campaign. Murphy used his own money to give his campaign a $10 million loan back in June 2016. As of the same week he gave himself that loan, he had received $667,000 dollars from other donors. However, just $27,000 of it came from contributions smaller than $300. Of the donations Murphy received, they came from a mere 971 dollars. These figures do not even include Murphy’s Super PAC money. Murphy is not running a grassroots campaign. On the other hand, Wisniewski has raised a total of $450,000 as of today, and is doing it with small-money donors, like Bernie Sanders did.
During the 2016 Primary, all of the Democratic Party leadership, and all the Democratic elected officials supported Hilary Clinton, except for one: John Wisniewski. It is no surprise that Murphy, an avid Clinton supporter, was able to get the support from the state’s party bosses. However, there is another reason for his establishment backing as well, which is how he was funneled money to country organizations for years before announcing his candidacy. For example, he gave $60,000 to both the Passaic County and Union County Democratic Organizations.
John Wisniewski is the progressive that both New Jersey and America need right now. He has a 0% rating from the American Conservative Union, and has stood with workers when other Democratic Party bosses caved to Chris Christie and helped him cut state-workers’ pensions and health care benefits. Against warnings from the Democratic Party establishment in New Jersey, Wisniewski had the courage to back Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, and was not afraid to face the political consequences that came with his endorsement. The chairman of the state Democratic committee kicked Wisniewski from the DNC and replaced him with an insurance executive.
Wisniewski is the only candidate for governor who supports a much-needed single-payer healthcare program, which would provide universal coverage. Wisniewski wants to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. He is fighting for a $15 minimum-wage, and for shifting to a clean energy economy which would radically increase economic growth and job growth in the state. Furthermore, he has a 100% pro-choice voting record. In backing Sanders, in standing up against the Democratic establishment, and by not taking corporate cash, Wisniewski has shown that he’s a true progressive who stands with the grassroots of the left-wing, and with working and middle-class families in New Jersey. However, this race matters for every progressive in America, and for every person who knows the failing Democratic party needs a change in direction and fast. The progressive movement in this country is not about simply getting political outsiders into office, it’s about making sure elected officials are beholden to their constituents, not their big money donors. It’s about having a progressive platform that is backed up by sincerity, not empty words. John Wisniewski has fought for New Jersey for over two decades, and it’s time for America to fight for John. The first step in resisting Donald Trump, and regaining the control of government that the Democratic Party managed to lose, is to reject the failed Democratic establishment.