The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jerry Green's last hurrah?

Jerry Green at a 2013 rally in Plainfield.

Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green won re-election to another two-year term as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee at the biannual reorganization meeting Tuesday evening at L'Affaire**.

In the end, it was a numbers game. Green had the backing of Sen. Ray Lesniak and Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwege, as well as Green's running mates Sen. Nick Scutari (Linden) and former mayor Jim Kennedy (Rahway). Resistance was futile.

The irony of Green, who has not been elected to his own city committee for nearly fifteen years (after being blindsided by a write-in campaign by the late Peter Janis), being elected unanimously to chair the Union County committee after he had suffered a rout in Plainfield did not escape the attention of many, though it remained unvoiced.

However, in the wrangling that went on behind the scenes over the past weekend, Jerry Green was told in no uncertain terms by several of the players that the war with Adrian Mapp and his supporters in Plainfield was destabilizing to the Union County picture as a gubernatorial race looms and that Green had to relent and let Plainfield Dems manage their own affairs as they see fit. Green supposedly agreed, and that is what was behind the mutual declarations at Monday's Plainfield Democratic Committee reorganization.

I would not go so far as PolitickerNJ, though, and say that Green emerged "unscathed" -- see their story here.

With Sen. Lesniak evidently seriously considering a run for governor in 2017, it is important for Union County's ducks to be in a row. It is perfectly undertandable that Lesniak would favor the stability of working with Green -- who has mostly toed the line for the Union County bosses over the years -- as opposed to Sheriff Joe Cryan (often at loggerheads with Lesniak) and Cryan's ally Colleen Mahr, mayor of Fanwood (thrown to the ground by Green after the Stender debacle).

All that being said, Green will be 77 at the end of the upcoming chairmanship period, and clearly fatigued.

The powers that be have three problems to face -- and solve -- over the next time frame --

  • Will Jerry Green keep his word when it comes to the gubernatorial race?

  • Will the settlement in Plainfield truly hold fast?

  • How will Jerry's successor in the Assembly be picked?


It will be tempting for Green to try and play "kingmaker" when the governor's race really gets under way. After all, he has strong ties to Sweeney and, by extension, the Norcross South Jersey crowd. They will surely advance a candidate (Sweeney?).

And then there is Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop, with whom Plainfield mayor Adrian Mapp has close ties. Fulop has been lining his marbles up for a while now.

Will Jerry Green keep his word when crunch time arrives? We shall have to see.

Then there is the question of whether Jerry Green will abide by his promise to let Plainfield Democrats sort things out among themselves.

The lure of sowing dissension to make political hay may be irresistible to Green who, after all, believes he "run(s) this mother***".

Especially if Green can see Mapp advancing to a Council majority that is supportive of his agenda.

At least Mapp will have two years of controlling the ballot line. That would mean Green's coterie would have to run off the line, something to which they definitely are not accustomed. The downside to them of all the years of running the show is that they have grown fat and lazy. There is no enthusiasm for the hard work of retail politics -- unless someone is getting paid for it.

Contrast that attitude with Mapp's 99% volunteer-driven Plainfield Democratic Organizaition.

Plainfield Democrats have matured considerably where they were when the white party bosses sent Jerry Green to Plainfield to manage the "field hands".

Plainfield Democrats are hardly likely to put up with that kind of plantation politics as everyone contemplates what the future will be like without Jerry Green.

How will the powers-that-be address the challenge of change?
Stay tuned.

**Just where IS L'Affaire? It's on Route 22, but in what town? I originally said Union. Wrong. Mayor Mapp announced it as Springfield. PolitickerNJ says Mountainside. Google Maps opts for Mountainside, but can anyone be sure?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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