By Clyde Hughes | AC Joseph Media
CAMDEN – With less than a week to go in the hotly contested June 8 Democratic Primary for Camden mayor, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday he was throwing his support behind Interim Mayor Vic Carstarphen.
It was a long-awaited endorsement after New Jersey state Democratic party leaders gathered around the former Camden city councilman and former high school basketball coach after the resignation of Frank Moran back in April.
Last month, many members around Camden city council showed their support by elevating Carstarphen to interim mayor head of council president Curtis Jenkins.
“It is an honor to receive an endorsement and support from Gov. Phil Murphy in the June 8 Democratic Primary,” Carstarphen said in a statement on Facebook Friday. “Together we will continue to help Camden reach its fullest potential.”
Carstarphen is trying to win a four-year term as mayor against school board member Elton Custis, fellow city councilwoman Felicia Reyes-Morton and teacher Luis Quinones.
“Vic Carstarphen has a bold vision to lift up all of Camden’s residents and lead the city toward a brighter future,” Murphy said in comments posted by the New Jersey Globe Friday. “From housing and health care to community engagement and public education, he is an energetic thinker with the credibility to unify communities and tackle tough challenges while always putting Camden first.”
Custis issued a lengthy statement on the endorsement Friday, saying while he admires Murphy, he has the grassroots support to win and represent the voices of Camden that are not being heard.
“I say this not from an ivory perch on the waterfront,” Custis said. “I say this from Kaighn Avenue, Mickle Towers, Whitman Park, Cramer Hill, Centerville, Parkside, Fairview, East Camden, and every other neighborhood where my feet have touched the ground and my ears have listened to the pain, heartbreak, and fear over the past 20 years.
“For me, Camden is not a mailbox. Camden is my birthplace, my home. It’s what I wake-up to and place my head on the pillow at night. It’s what raised me, educated me, and taught me to fight for what I believe in,” he added.
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