The state Democratic Party is looking for a new way to engage voters, and New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman Leroy Jones Jr. thinks he may have found it.
Jones sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday asking for New Jersey to be chosen as an early presidential primary state.
“Our party cannot cling to outdated traditions that do not help us reach new voters and motivate the diverse coalition of supporters needed to win elections and enact our pro-middle-class agenda,” Jones wrote. “New Jersey has everything that our party needs to fulfill this important role.”
Jones said in the letter that the state is diverse, with a population breakdown of 15% Black, 10% Asian American and 21% Latino. He also wrote that the state’s “compact size” saves travel time and campaign resources and that the state has geographic diversity as well.
“In many ways, we are truly a microcosm of the country,” Jones wrote.
He wrote that the state embodies the party’s core values as a “proud union state with over 600,000 active union members representing over 16% of New Jersey’s workforce” and a pro-choice and pro-LGBTQI rights state.
Jones also said New Jersey holds “meaningful political relevance” as it “lies at the center of our party’s efforts to protect our majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The state committee’s Executive Director Saily Avelenda said in a statement that Gov. Phil Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Jones are all “committed to ensuring the path to the Democratic presidential nomination reflects the diversity of our party and country” and that they will be reaching out to party leaders to “make the case for why New Jersey deserves this important role.”
The committee did not comment on why the letter was sent. The Democratic National Committee did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Katie Sobko is a reporter in the New Jersey Statehouse. For unlimited access to her work covering New Jersey’s governor and political power structure, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.