Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, March 15, 2015

City Committee contest key to Jerry Green's future?

Stressful days ahead for Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green.

2015 is shaping up to be a very challenging year for Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green.

Green faces not only a November race for his Assembly seat but a contest in June for control of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee that could determine his eligibility for continued chairmanship of the Union County Democratic organization.

Whether or not you think it's right, in New Jersey members of local Democratic and Republican committees in communities with partisan elections (such as Plainfield) are chosen at the public's expense during the June primary elections. The two parties choose their committee members in alternate years. 2014 was the Republicans' year and 2015 will see Democrats make their choices.

While the contests are part of the primary election ballot, those running are members of private political organizations. Got that part?

In Plainfield, there are a total of 34 voting districts spread through the four wards (8 in Ward 1, 11 in Ward 2, 10 in Ward 3, and 5 in Ward 4). Each district selects a male and a female representative to the Plainfield Democratic City Committee.

These 68 people reorganize every other year on the Monday following their June election by electing the PDCC chairperson and other officers. This year's primary election is on Tuesday, June 2 and the PDCC will reorgaize on Monday, June 8.

What makes this year especially perilous for Assemblyman Green is that it looks like he will be challenged by a FULL SLATE of 68 reform candidates put up by the Plainfield Democratic Organization under the leadership of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

As of this week, Mapp advises that the Plainfield Democratic Organization has 60 candidates signed up and is closing in on a full slate. Petitions for city committee members are due on March 30.

Word in the street is that Assemblyman Green is having trouble filling his bingo card as several longtime committee members have declined to run at all. Worse than that are defections from his ranks.

Key among these is the candidacy of longtime Democratic activist Dottie Gutenkauf for the Ward 3 District 1 seat on the Plainfield Democratic Organization slate. Gutenkauf, a highly respected and visible figure, has been an advocate of fiscally and managerially responsible government.

Why all this matters to Jerry Green is that his chairmanship of the Union County Democratic Committee is essentially a "chairmanship of the chairmanships" of the 21 communities comprising the county organization.

If, after the reorganization, he is no longer chair of the Plainfield committee, can he remain as chair of the Union County committee?

The stress Assemblyman Green faces in the upcoming campaign season is sure to bring to the fore his penchant for ad hominem politics, of which we all have seen more than enough.

Not only that, if Green does survive the challenge of keeping control of the Plainfield and Union County Dem organizations, he still must face a contest in the November election in which the Republicans are mounting two credible candidates -- Bill Michelson of Plainfield and William "Bo" Vastine of Scotch Plains -- against Green and his new running-mate.

Not only that, rumors continue to swirl that Green is in increasingly ill health. Observers note that he no longer has the stamina to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, presiding at meetings seated at a table and in a voice that can hardly be heard by all in the room.

With his 76th birthday coming up at the end of April, Green is not only the longest serving Assembly member, he is among the oldest in the Legislature.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tom Kaercher said...

Hi Dan,

Is there any possibility of Gery being 'primaryed' in June? The best solution would be to dump Gerry without losing the seat to 'Fat Boy' and the Republicans.

Tom Kaercher

Anonymous said...

GO GREEN!!! No really GO!!! Go far away somewhere . . . anywhere but here.

Dan said...

Jerry 'Primaried'?

I haven't heard anything yet, but there's time....