Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who's backing who? A guide to Plainfield's Dem Primary

Winning Plainfield's Democratic primary is
tantamount to election.

The list of who's backing who in the June Democratic primary shows a tectonic shift in alignments in the Queen City's political sphere.

In Plainfield, with its heavy preponderance of Democratic voters (about 10-to-1 over Republicans), the outcome of a contested June Democratic primary virtually signifies who will take office next January 1.

This year, three Council seats are up: the First Ward and the Wards 2/3 at-large seats are up on their regular rota. In Ward 3, the contest is to fill the seat of former Councilor (now Mayor) Adrian Mapp for the balance of his unexpired term.

Assemblyman Jerry Green, chair of both the Plainfield and the Union County Democratic Committees has fielded a hand-picked team -- which he imposed on the Plainfield City Committee without consultation or a vote.


  • Charles Eke for Wards 2/3 at-large. Eke is currently a commissioner of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA).

  • Diane Toliver for Ward 1. Toliver is the wife of former PMUA commissioner Alex Toliver who helped engineer the $1 million payout to two former PMUA executives.

  • Gloria Taylor for Ward 3. Taylor, a retired school administrator, moved to Plainfield from elsewhere a number of years ago. She has been vocal against what she refers to as 'carpetbaggers' in Plainfield.

For more than a decade, Democrats concerned for Plainfield's future have rallied behind the banner of 'New Democrats for Plainfield', fielding candidates for council and mayor in an effort to move the city forward. This year's slate --

  • Rebecca Williams for Ward 2/3 at-large. The fiery incumbent, Williams was passed over by Jerry Green, no doubt because she refuses to kow-tow to the man known as the 'King' of Plainfield politics. Rebecca has been an energetic voice for ethical leadership.

  • Emmett Swan for Ward 1. Swan's eyes were opened to Plainfield realities when he bought a condo in the Monarch, former Mayor Robinson-Briggs' debacle on East Front Street. He soon realized that the incumbent had done little to actually address the needs of First Ward residents, especially regarding public safety and the development of the East 2nd Street business district.

  • Charles McRae for Ward 3. A long-time Plainfield resident, McRae has been active in school and neighborhood groups, serving in the Cedarbook School PTO and in the Cedar Brook Block Association, where he recently served as president. Charles also is a long-time member of the council-appointed Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, which reviews the annual budget and gives citizen input.

Retired Plainfield police captain Siddeeq El-Amin is also running as a Democrat for the First Ward seat. El-Amin is a longtime resident who has served as president of the board of Neighborhood Health Services, formerly known at the Plainfield Health Center.

The earth moved when several well-known Plainfield figures announced their support of the New Democrats slate.

  • Lillian Jamar, doyenne of First Ward Democrats and a resident since 1956, came to the Council table recently to declare her support for the Mapp administration and appears in campaign literature endorsing Emmett Swan for the First Ward seat.

  • Retired City Clerk Laddie Wyatt, also a longtime First Ward resident, is endorsing Emmett Swan for Council in a letter being mailed to ward residents.

  • Dottie Gutenkauf -- who, with her late husband Joe, is considered by many the brains behind the Regular Democratic Organization -- has come out with a blog post (see here) in which she backs New Democrats Rebecca Williams and Charles McRae (she votes in Ward 3).

  • Dr. Harold Yood, retired Plainfield physician and watchdog known to all as 'Olddoc' also has posted his endorsements in the Democratic primary race (see here). He backs Rebecca Williams (he votes in Ward 2) and endorses Charles McRae for Ward 3 and Siddeeq El-Amin for Ward 1. A number of years ago Dr. Yood, a lifelong Republican, changed his registration to Democrat in order to have some say in Plainfield's local elections.
Endorsing Jerry Green's team are, besides Assemblyman Green himself, former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Minister Mustapha Muhammad.

Full disclosure: In case there is anyone in Plainfield who still doesn't know, I am among the founders of the New Democrats club and am serving as campaign coordinator in this year's primary contest. -- Dan.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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active citizen said...

I wonder what most people think when candidates are backed by Jerry Green and Ex-Mayor SRB. I guess Sharon didn't get the message at the last election and it seems that neither did Jerry.

Dottie Gutenkauf said...

Joe and I were never the "brains" behind the Regular Democratic Organization, no matter who thought so. We did what we could for Plainfield. But thanks for the compliment--Joe would have laughed at the thought (as I did)!

Dottie Gutenkauf said...

Joe and I were never the "brains" behind the Regular Democratic Organization, no matter who thought so. We did what we could for Plainfield. But thanks for the compliment--Joe would have laughed at the thought (as I did)!