POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Democratic Field Open As NJ Primary Nears

By Brenda Flanagan
Correspondent

On Memorial Day New Jersey’s red, white and blue. But on June 7 — Primary Day — most of the focus will be on blue since Donald Trump’s already wrapped up his nomination. But Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be slugging it out for votes and delegates and not everyone’s decided.

“Wish there was another choice,” said a voter.

“Big doubts. Don’t know. Have no idea,” said another voter.

A recent Washington Post poll showed 57 percent of voters have an overall unfavorable impression of Clinton — the same as Trump. In New Jersey Clinton’s got a double-digit lead in the polls and Senator Bob Menendez’ endorsement. He says her experience can overcome the negatives.

“The person who has access to the nuclear code, who has that understanding, the breadth and scope of experience in a very dangerous world to protect America and promote its interest? I think that’s a hands down decision,” Menendez said.

Clinton will fundraise and campaign in New Jersey this week. Some political analysts estimate the former secretary of state will clinch the Democratic nomination here June 7. If that occurs, Menendez says, Sanders needs to bow out.

“If he abhors Donald Trump as he says he does, in terms of his policies, then the one, sure way to guarantee Donald Trump doesn’t win is to come and unite behind Secretary Clinton after the primaries are over and guarantee that Donald Trump doesn’t win,” said Menendez.

“The game is not over until the last quarter has been played out. Senator Sanders has a right to run for the Democratic nomination as much as any other candidate,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski. “and I would argue with you today Senator Sanders is the candidate with the best chance to win the general election in November.

Wisniewski heads Bernie’s Jersey campaign, and says the Vermont senator isn’t about to quit. Minus super delegates, New Jersey’s got 126 delegates up for grabs, and they’re awarded proportionately. The senator drew thousands in two rallies here in early May.

“Our canvassing, both door to door and phone, is going extraordinarily well. Everyone needs to remember that in the New Jersey primary not only do registered Democrats have an opportunity to vote but unaffiliated voters, people who have not made a choice, have the opportunity to declare themselves and vote in the Democratic primary. I think Senator Sanders is going to do well — better than many people expect him to do,” he said.

Sanders will campaign in California. Donald Trump has no plans to campaign in New Jersey before the primary and sources claim his VP pick seems weighted less towards Gov. Chris Christie, and more towards Newt Gingrich.

While Sanders supporters feel the Bern, the Clinton campaign’s still trying to light a fire under some of its supporters here in Jersey, but they feel they’ll carry the day June 7.