Former priest plans run for governor in New Jersey

Bob Hoatson of West Orange

Bob Hoatson of West Orange

One of the Democrats who wants to be New Jersey’s next governor has an unusual background for a political candidate.

West Orange resident Bob Hoatson is a former Catholic priest and co-founder of a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual abuse.

“I just keep fighting for justice and fighting for the rights of people who have been harmed,” said Hoatson. “I did a doctoral degree in leadership, and I’ve been a high school and college administrator, an elementary school administrator.

“I’ve run a lot of organizations. I have run some fairly large budgets. I think that qualifies me.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Hoatson said he has he leadership skills to make needed change.

“I think New Jersey is severely broken, and I’ve had a history of looking at broken institutions and corrupt organizations and trying to reform and do something about it,” he said. “I think the people have been shortchanged by the leadership.”

Even though likely front-runner Phil Murphy has millions of dollars to fund his own campaign, Hoatson believes he can win.

“We’re going to do a grass-roots campaign. We’re going to launch a website soon with a button on it that will enable people to fund me,” he said. “I’d like to kind of run like a Bernie Sanders campaign where people who don’t believe our state is for sale can contribute.”

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

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal