Under the Union Hood

Union County Democratic Committee acting chairwoman Colleen Mahr announced that Wednesday, Feb. 21, will be the date of the meeting to vote on the UCDC’s next permanent chair. Insidernj covered the announcement meeting in Ferraro’s in Westfield and among their observations:

A fight between Acting Union County Chair Colleen Mahr and Senator Nick Scutari (D-22) for the Union Dems’ chairmanship raged countywide, and the Democrats found themselves now thrust into close proximity – and it was – to say the least – uncomfortable.

Plainfield serving as the most obvious flashpoint, where members of the gay community, who had backed Mayor Adrian Mapp, bucked him hard now over his personal endorsement – without their consent – of Scutari. But it was more than the gays, a source insisted. It was the base of his New Democrats, shaken by what they sniffed out as a the mayor’s quest for Trenton. In less than a week, Mapp had lost his chief of staff, the casualty of getting wedged between the gays and Mapp, the county party fight turning him into human silly putty. The mayor also lost his city administrator, which he insisted was not the consequence of politics. Then on Thursday, the city personnel director found the door.

There was also a wing of the New Democrats – who occupied the bulk of the same local Democratic Committee that presumably was supposed to fall in behind the mayor to back Scutari – which remembered how Mahr worked with Mapp. There was a bond there, they insisted. And yet, a source close to the mayor explained, Mapp and the New Dems felt slightly burned by Mahr’s ally, state Senator Joe Cryan (D-20), when the mayor ran out there in 2016 and backed Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop for Governor, perhaps with the expectation of Cryan likewise offering his voice in the face of what at that time was a fast rising wave for eventual winner Phil Murphy.

The senator [Scutari], of course, wouldn’t back off of Mapp. He needed him. His whole strategy for victory depended on adding Plainfield to what he has in Elizabeth and Linden to suffocate with the county’s cities Mahr’s smaller suburban base. Sensing a less than locked down Plainfield, the senator joined Mapp earlier this week for door pounding in Mapp’s hometown.

“Ehh,” a source moaned to InsiderNJ, dismissing Salters’ move as an ego driven stunt. “The guy wants his name in the paper.” But others agreed that Salters – who partnered with Cryan on the Hillside mayor’s race last year – had entered the contest as a stalking horse for Mahr, and would either drag urban votes away from Scutari (further breaking up the agitated Plainfield) or bow out late and back Mahr. If the race was suburbs (Mahr) versus cities (Scutari), Salters would confuse Scutari’s base, the argument ran. There was another dimension to Salters, a key ally for Cryan as the senator sizes up his political future in LD20. Based on their collisions locally last year, Cryan and Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20) appear inevitably headed for a 2021 primary, unless Cryan gets rid of Holley in 2019.

Other responses:

All of the above unfortunately bad for Union County

A moderate (as if)

none of the above (3)


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