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New Jersey mayor aspires to be state’s first Jewish governor

“Having a very, very strong Judaic foundation has been a moral compass for me,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (left), who is Jewish, with Patrick Kelleher and Jim McGreevey at an EMCOR Group breast-cancer awareness event in 2016. Credit: A Katz/Shutterstock.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (left), who is Jewish, with Patrick Kelleher and Jim McGreevey at an EMCOR Group breast-cancer awareness event in 2016. Credit: A Katz/Shutterstock.

Steven Fulop, the mayor of Jersey City, N.J., has the distinction of currently leading the race for governor. Of course, he is the first candidate to declare for a contest two years away and so far the only person running for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Fulop grew up in a secular Jewish home and attended an Orthodox day school through eighth grade. That made a strong imprint on him “about service, about how to treat people, about right and wrong,” Jewish Insider reported.

“Having a very, very strong Judaic foundation has been a moral compass for me,” Fulop said. He emphasized that although he isn’t running as a Jewish candidate, “it is intertwined. It’s who I am.”

If elected, Fulop would be the state’s first Jewish governor, in spite of its large Jewish population. New Jersey has the fourth highest Jewish population in the country, 545,450, per a 2019 survey by the Berman Jewish DataBank.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who is also Jewish, is reportedly considering a run for governor as well.

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