Christine Clarke Announces State Senate Run in LD26

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Today, Democrat Christine Clarke announced her candidacy for the New Jersey State Senate in District 26, which includes 13 communities in Essex, Morris, and Passaic counties: Butler, Fairfield, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Montville, Morris Plains, North Caldwell, Parsippany, Rockaway Township, Verona, West Caldwell, and West Milford.

Trying to secure her party’s nomination to take out state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), Clarke is an environmental activist, grassroots organizer and mother-of-four running to build the clean energy economy, improve healthcare, protect clean air and water, and lead with empathy and common sense fiscal responsibility.

Pennacchio served as co-chair of the 2020 reelection campaign of President Donald J. Trump.

“We need more people in government who are chosen by, from and among the people, who know what it is to budget from a place of scarcity and invest in what matters most. If we are going to pay our bills, meet our commitments and save for someday, we need leaders who live that way seated at the proverbial table,” said Clarke.

Clarke is a Climate Reality Leader, a steering committee member of the Jersey Renews coalition and an Honorary Adviser to the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY associated with the United Nations. She is a member of the NJ NAACP Environment and Climate Justice team via Morristown Local 2092 and municipal chair of the Jefferson Township Democratic Committee. She has lived in Jefferson for 16 years.

“When I had my children, I never expected modern parenting to include advocacy. But here we are,” Clarke said. “I don’t want our children to have to be lobbyists for their own healthcare just to get insurance approvals for prescriptions or procedures they still might not be able to afford when a bill comes. I don’t want them to be unable to afford to live in the same areas they grew up in, while income inequality decides who gets to eat each night and who doesn’t. I don’t want them worried about basics like housing, keeping lights on or whether they can find a job. I also don’t want them uncertain whether they can breathe clean air, drink clean water or tolerate the heat of summers in years to come. I don’t want them to ever have to fight the government just to get recognition that they are people. We have clear work ahead of us.

“Working together, we can build a job-creating, low-carbon, clean energy economy through which we can stay healthy, stay well and thrive,” she added. “We can work for state dollars to come back to our district for ecotourism, restoration of our historic places and proactive protection of our lakes and forest, while advocating the investments we need to make as a state for our growth and wellness. We have time-sensitive challenges ahead of us, and need more leaders willing to roll up their sleeves, build together and get work done.”

Clarke has been endorsed by Passaic County Democratic Committee chair John Currie, Morris County Democratic Committee chair Chip Robinson and Essex County Democratic Committee chair Leroy Jones.

“Christine will bring dignity, common sense and a needed working-class perspective to the Senate,” said Currie. “I am proud to endorse her.”

“I have seen Christine work hard to engage people in her town, actively listen to her neighbors and lead from among rather than on high,” said Robinson. “She will bring these same traits to Trenton, which is why I’m so thrilled to endorse her. As Senator she will bring decency and servant leadership back to our state representation.”

“Christine is a strong and empathetic leader who knows the importance of leadership by example,” said Jones. “Together, we can build a brighter future for working families in our communities. She’s exactly who we need at this critical moment in our country, and I’m proud to support her.”

In addition to the county chairmen, Clarke has been endorsed by local leaders including:

Butler Democratic Chairwoman Kellie Davidson

Essex County Commissioner At-Large Brendan Gill

Essex County Commissioner At-Large Patricia Sebold

Jefferson Township Former Mayor Horace Chamberlain

Jefferson Township Democratic Municipal Vice Chair Anne Augustyn

Kinnelon Democratic Municipal Chair Patti Douglass

Lincoln Park Councilman and Democratic Municipal Chair Patrick Antonetti

Morris County Democratic Women’s Caucus Chairwoman Meghan Lynch

Morris Plains Councilwoman Joan Goddard

Morris Plains Councilwoman Nancy Verga

Montville Democratic Municipal Chair Christine Antal

North Caldwell Democratic Municipal Chair Dennis Klein

North Caldwell Former Democratic Municipal Chair Deborah DelVecchio

Parsippany Democratic Municipal Chair Matt Clarkin

Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano

Rockaway Township Councilman Jonathan Sackett

Rockaway Township Councilman Manny Friedlander

Rockaway Township Municipal Chair Doug Romaine

West Caldwell Democratic Chairman Lou Venezia

West Milford Democratic Co-Chair Carla Horton

Verona Councilwoman Christine McGrath


“Christine’s thoughtful brand of leadership brings us back to what politics should be,” said Benjamin Weisman, campaign manager. “She understands that policies can’t just look good on paper, but have to work for those in our community. She understands that we have to lead in a way that our kids can be proud of and, when we disagree, do so in the way we would want our kids to emulate. I hope people will visit to learn more and join our campaign to elect a leader who believes in policy over partisanship and will be someone we can be proud to have representing us.”

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