The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says New Jersey’s underfunded public pensions system is one more reason why Democratic voters should choose her husband over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the June 7 primary.

Jane Sanders spoke Wednesday morning with New Jersey 101.5 host Bill Spadea. Sanders and Clinton are in the midst of a fierce primary fight nationally. But in the Garden State, Democratic voters favor Clinton, with 54 percent of likely primary voters telling Quinnipiac University poll last month that they’d choose Clinton and just 40 percent choosing Sanders.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Holds Rally In Laramie, Wyoming
Bernie and Jane Sanders at a Wyoming rally in April. (Getty Images)

But the Vermont U.S. senator’s wife says it wouldn’t be fair to call the nomination for Clinton if she wins the New Jersey primary.

“As important as New Jersey is, it shouldn't be he one where it’s called because the only way it can be called is to include the superdelagates,” Jane Sanders told Spadea. “The fact is, nobody is the nominee going into the convention unless they have the required number of pledged delegates and neither is likely to reach that.”

"The whole pension debacle there is something Bernie has spoken out strongly about," she said.

Spadea said Jane Sanders sounded "just like a Republican" talking about the pension issue, but Sanders' solution didn't included the usual GOP proposals to curtail public pension benefits.

"Since the 1990s, the state hasn’t made full pension payments and that is despite the fact that many of the workers — the teachers, the government workers, the firefighters, the policemen — are all paying into it on a regular basis.”

Republican Gov. Chris Christie has increased payments to the pension system but last year the state’s unfunded pension liabilities grew to $43.8 billion. The state’s budget for next year, meanwhile, is a billion dollars in the hole.

Sanders’ wife slammed the $728 million in investment fees that the pension fund managers collected last year.

“They could have made that amount of money into the payment pensions,” she said. “Hedge funds managers making this kind of money off the backs of the people that are working for a living, providing public services doesn’t seem too smart.”

Sanders brushed aside questions about how her husband would handle possible defeat to Clinton, and whether he would endorse her.

“We are committed — honestly, all you have to do is look at yesterday’s news conference [by Trump], and know what he did in Atlantic City and throughout so many places in terms of really hurting our economy, to hope that and to pledge that we have to stop Donald trump.”

Watch the rest of the interview above.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email