North Jersey Democratic leaders back Phil Murphy for governor

A group of northern New Jersey Democratic leaders gathered at their headquarters in Hackensack Thursday to endorse gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy.

"Today we stand here to say that the Democratic Party is unified behind our next governor, Ambassador Phil Murphy," Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato announced.

Murphy is a former U.S. ambassador and a Goldman Sachs executive. He often gets compared to former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Murphy says he differs from Gov. Corzine in that he believes in raising money.

"Will I put my own money to work if it can pivot the election from the wrong side to the right side? You betcha (sic). I'm all in for that," Murphy said. "I'm a big believer as it relates to money in politics, more people involved is more important to me than money."

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced his support for Murphy last week. There was some speculation that Fulop would be running for governor, but the mayor said he would run for re-election as mayor instead.

Another high-profile Democrat who was assumed to run is New Jersey Senate President Steven Sweeney. But Sweeney announced Thursday morning that he would not enter the race and would be running for the New Jersey Senate once again.

Sweeney mentioned all of the support Murphy was getting as one of the reasons he chose not to run for governor.

Not all Democratic leaders are backing Murphy. Deputy Assembly Speaker John Wisniewski announced he will be exploring a run for governor.

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