NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The state’s two U.S. senators endorsed Democrat Phil Murphy for governor on Monday, saying they need a partner in Trenton when Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s administration takes office.
Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez threw their support behind Murphy to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose second term ends in 2018.
“We have a challenge right now,” Booker said at Murphy’s Newark campaign headquarters, “with a president-elect who in just a matter of days will be president of the United States that has a very different economic agenda than we have here.”
Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and ambassador to Germany during Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration, has relatively quickly consolidated Democratic support for his candidacy, gaining the backing of significant labor unions and county party chairmen.
Murphy said he was honored to have the endorsements and described Trump’s incoming administration as “not always hospitable.”
Booker and Menendez will need a governor who has their back, Murphy said.
Menendez mentioned the infrastructure project that Christie canceled in 2010, citing high costs, and the termination of a federal grant for a windmill farm off the state’s cost as examples of issues where Murphy’s help would be welcome.
Murphy has competition in the June primary from Assemblyman John Wisniewski and state Sen. Ray Lesniak, among others.
Booker was elected to his first full term in 2014. Menendez has represented New Jersey in Congress since 1993, first in the House until 2006 and then in the Senate. Menendez is under federal indictment on corruption charges but denies the allegations and is fighting them in court.
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