Democrat Ray Lesniak says he will run for governor of New Jersey

New Jersey state Senator Ray Lesniak, a Democrat from Union County, says he’s going to file the paperwork tomorrow to officially become a candidate in next year’s election for Governor of New Jersey.

Lesniak’s bid is not a complete surprise. In 2015 the senator decided not to seek another term and stated then that he planned to run for governor in 2017. But as we’re learning many people who express interest in running for governor can change their mind. 

Lesniak says fellow-Democrat Steve Sweeney’s decision not to run for governor had an impact on his decision. “It makes me more than ever determined not to be bought off, not to let money buy this election, and I’m going right to the people with social internet.  The party bosses aren’t going to make this determination, the people will, and I’m confident they will choose me.”

The only declared Democrat in the race for governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and one time Wall Street executive.

Democrat Steven Fulop was expected to run next year. He announced he will won’t run and instead endorsed Murphy. 

The date of the 2017 primary election has not been set.

Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli declared his candidacy this week.

Phil Gregory contributed to this story. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.