Bergen Dems Back Murphy for Governor

Philip D. Murphy, the former Goldman Sachs executive, won the coveted endorsement of the Bergen County Democratic Committee Thursday night, further solidifying his standing as front-runner for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

Philip D. Murphy, the former Goldman Sachs executive, won the coveted endorsement of the Bergen County Democratic Committee Thursday night, further solidifying his standing as front-runner for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

Murphy captured 637 of the votes, or 87 percent cast in Thursday night's nominating convention at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall. He far outpaced  Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, who earned 72 votes, or 10 percent of the votes. And Bill Brennan, a Democratic Party activist who is pursuing a citizen’s complaint against Governor Christie, accusing him of official misconduct in the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal, earned 24 votes, or 3 percent.

Murphy, 59, urged his competitors to conduct an “idea-based” campaign and warned against a potentially ruinous internecine battle for the nomination.

“The enemy is the other side,’’ he said shortly before 8 p.m. after Bergen Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato announced the results. “Chris Christie is the enemy. Donald Trump is the enemy. Our governor and his cabal of insiders has failed us.”

Murphy’s victory was expected. The former U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013  and a one-time finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee became the party’s favorite last fall after his two main competitors, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, withdrew from the race.

Murphy also spent the past two years investing time and money in Bergen, a pivotal Democratic Party bastion and the state’s most populous county.

Wisniewski, a veteran legislator from Sayreville who co-chaired the legislative investigation of the lane closing scandal, has struggled to make inroads with the 1,100-member committee. Brennan, a former Teaneck firefighter who announced his candidacy at a protest rally in December, lacked organizational support.

Thursday’s night’s victory means Murphy will top the ballot column with legislative and freeholder candidates in the June primary.

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