Ballots cast throughout New Jersey on Tuesday will list hundreds of candidates, their parties and the offices they seek. But for 53 candidates, the ballots will not say one of the most important things they have in common: union-approved.
These people running for town councilman, mayor, county freeholder and other posts are graduates of a state A.F.L.-C.I.O. program to recruit, train and support candidates for public office who are union members and support pro-union policies.
The program, which costs the federation about $250,000 a year to run, has groomed more than 160 current officeholders — the overwhelming majority of them Democrats — including 8 members of the Legislature, 12 county freeholders, 18 mayors and a county clerk.