POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Women’s coalition fights for Murphy, hopes to influence cabinet diversity

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

They were small in number, but firm in their commitment to make sure the next governor of New Jersey is going to be the best choice for women across the state.

“We are here because Phil Murphy is the candidate who will stand with women and stand up for women,” announced Christine Sadovy, political director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.

The independent expenditure group is a coalition that includes Planned Parenthood, New Jersey Citizen Action and other familiar members of generally left-leaning Trenton. They’ll raise money for, and get the word out about their guy, who they say is head and shoulders above the woman the Republicans have put up for governor.

The independent expenditure group is a coalition that includes Planned Parenthood, New Jersey Citizen Action and other familiar members of generally left-leaning Trenton

“It is not sufficient for me as a woman, as a mother, as a New Jerseyan to simply vote for a woman because she is a woman,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families, “It does not make a difference to me if a woman votes against my self interest or a man votes against my self interest.”

The group says Guadagno is a “no” on minimum wage, “no” on family leave and “no” on funding Planned Parenthood. It’s not the stuff that women voters like, which recent poll numbers seem to indicate, as well. A recent Monmouth University poll has Murphy up by 25 points amongst women, and a Quinnipiac poll has him up by 36 points with women.

Guadagno, a self-described “working mom” responded Thursday in a statement from her campaign that read, in part, “No one would be a bigger advocate for women and their families than Kim Guadagno. On the other hand, Phil Murphy’s promised tax increases would be a disaster for women and working moms.”

But, the same polls have Murphy in a statistical dead heat among white males in New Jersey, aka two-thirds of the most powerful members of the decision making structure in Trenton. If, as many expect, Craig Coughlin is going to replace Vincent Prieto as Assembly Speaker, and Phil Murphy becomes governor, the left will find itself with an all-white-guy political leadership.

“We have made it clear that we will continue to push forward for diversity in the legislative leadership,” stated Patricia Campos Medina of LUPEPAC.

Has the coalition put up names for Senate president or Assembly speaker?

“No,” said Mejia. “Unfortunately, that’s an inside fight, as you well know. I can only speak for myself and my organization. I have had conversations with the Murphy campaign and candidates across the board before we made an endorsement, urging for diversity in leadership.”

Democratic leaders say this will all work itself out. Let’s win the governorship first, they say. We’ll figure out the political spoils and all the diversity stuff, afterwards.