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N.J. Is ‘Worth Fighting for,’ Steve Sweeney Says in Announcing Bid for Governor

Former New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced Monday he will run for New Jersey governor in 2025, confirming long-brewing rumors that he wants the office now held by term-limited Gov. Phil Murphy.

Sweeney, a South Jersey Democrat, served 20 years in the state Senate until his surprise upset in the 2021 election to little-known Republican Ed Durr. He will enter a race that’s still two years away but already has another Democratic contender — Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, who’s helmed the state’s second-largest city since 2013.

“I will always put New Jersey’s kids, working families, and seniors first. You know that’s who I’ll fight for, because that’s who I’ve always fought for. It’s who I am — a fighter for those who can’t fight for themselves,” Sweeney said in a video announcing his candidacy. “I’m running for governor because New Jersey is worth fighting for.”

In the Statehouse, Sweeney, 64, was the longest-serving Senate president (from 2010 to 2022) and represented the 3rd Legislative District, which covers Salem County and parts of Gloucester and Cumberland counties. He also served as a Gloucester County freeholder from 1997 to 2010.

He’s an ironworker by trade.

In his campaign video, he said his daughter Lauren, who has Down syndrome, drove him into public service because he felt compelled to advocate for people with special needs. He listed as his accomplishments raising the minimum wage, improving family leave, and legalizing same-sex marriage. Sweeney abstained from voting for a same-sex marriage bill in 2010, helping doom it, and said the following year that it was the biggest mistake of his political career.

Sweeney, like Fulop, toyed with running for governor in the 2017 cycle but never launched an official campaign.

Republican Jack Ciattarelli, who lost the 2021 governor’s race to Murphy, has said he plans to seek the governor’s mansion again in 2025.

Source: New Jersey Monitor