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Friday, July 24, 2015

Dem power players pay court to Plainfield party chair Mapp

Mayor Adrian Mapp on Primary Day 2015, as word comes
in that his team has won control of the Democratic City Committee.
(Image courtesy David Rutherford at plainfieldview.)

Democratic Party power players gathered at Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's home Thursday evening to pay court to the city's new Democratic City Committee chair.

About a hundred people filled the spacious home, St. George's Manor, as the mayor and his vivacious wife Amelia mixed and mingled with the crowd, which enjoyed a liberal spread as well as cooling beverages.

It was great fun to see grassroots workers who have been with Adrian since the beginning of his long road to the mayor's office mingling comfortably -- and sometimes sparring with -- some of New Jersey's finest political leaders.

Among those spotted enjoying themselves in animated conversations with attendees --

  • Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, with whom Mayor Mapp has very cordial relations. Though not formally announced, he is considered among the front-running candidates when Gov. Chris Christie finally shuffles off the stage;

  • Christie tormentor Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who represents Middlesex County, was also there. We had a lively conversation on one of his favorite topics: How to fix the Transportation Trust Fund and NJ's disintegrating roads. Along with Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Wisniewski is responsible for bringing Christie and his administration to the bar of public opinion over the Bridgegate mess;

  • Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan, a man whose career move from the Assembly raised eyebrows but may make him THE power to be reckoned with in Union County in the long run; and

  • Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, whose star I think will continue to rise despite the sharp elbows of her erstwhile friend (and former Assemblywoman) Linda Stender and UCDC chair Jerry Green.
Assemblyman Jerry Green, who lost the Plainfield Democratic party chairmanship to Mayor Mapp last month was also present.

After warmly greeting Mayor Mapp, Green took a chair by himself in the dining room, where a few people came up to greet him. Several of the guests remarked on how exhausted and unwell the former chairman looked. After about twenty minutes, I noticed that he had left.

Plainfield City Council members Cory Storch, Rebecca Williams and Diane Toliver were also there, as well as Wards 1/4 Council candidate Barry Goode. Among the missing were Councilors Bridget Rivers, Gloria Taylor, and Tracey Brown.

I noticed how different the tone was from twelve years ago, when the late Mayor Al McWilliams also won the city committee and displaced Jerry Green as chair. That time it was by a slender majority of the 68 committee seats.

This time around, Mapp's forces stormed the citadel and captured the prize with a commanding majority of 48 of the 68 seats.

While Al McWilliams was a remarkable man with a great vision for Plainfield, he absolutely detested the game of politics and it hampered his ability to push his vision forward.

Mayor Mapp, on the other hand, relishes the sport of politics and it has been evidenced in how the tone has shifted even in the short month since he won the chairmanship as well as the conviviality of Thursday's event.

An augury of better things to come.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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