Elections

Senator Nick Scutari Wins Union County Democratic Committee Vote

b651a12047b841772a43_DSC_2570.jpg
Line of UCDC voters outside the Gran Centurions. Credits: John Mooney
b09e7e9c754b10d5cf50_CSC_2614.jpg
Mayor Colleen Mahr spoke in main room while more attendees viewed simulcasts in other rooms around the facility as over 740 UCDC voters attended. Credits: John Mooney
b7dfa18c3e7d6a6d58ba_DSC_2588.jpg
Dan Sullivan of Elizabeth and State Senator Nick Scutari of Linden who won the balloting for UCDC chair. Credits: John Mooney
aed43af4edb3f224de8a_DSC_2594.jpg
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead Credits: John Mooney
be0c8a4ae8c5e8add352_1.JPG
Rev. Atkins and TAPinto Linden Editor Cynthia Atkins Credits: John Mooney
6f54b9ccc7b1fbb6ff9d_DSC_2585.jpg
b1e6438f2a1cbf5476af_DSC_2577.jpg
Cranford Mayor Tom Hannen Credits: John Mooney
0c055381cd4401946a98_2.JPG
The UCDC voting took place at the Gran Centurions on Wednesday Evening Credits: John Mooney
11101afd3643adb0533b_DSC_2598.jpg
a08fa3f49e6423fd22f1_3.JPG
b7ff1d6e3df38763a785_DSC_2593.jpg
b651a12047b841772a43_DSC_2570.jpg

CLARK, NJ - The vote for the Union County Democratic Committee (UCDC) chairmanship came to a conclusion Wednesday night when 748 committee members from the county’s 21 municipalities descended on the Gran Centurions in Clark to vote for their new party leader.

State Senator Nick Scutari came away with a 412-341 victory over Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr in a battle that had become quite contentious over the past three weeks with old political alliances being broken.

The candidates went to court on Tuesday over the way the voting would be handled. The Scutari camp argued that the party’s bylaws call for an open ballot. The Mahr camp argued that an open ballot created an environment in which voters could be intimidated and possibly be victims of retaliation if they did not vote the way that local party bosses wanted.

Sign Up for E-News

A group of Democrats supporting Nick Scutari -- Louisa Bianco, of Scotch Plains; the Rev. Reginald Atkins, of Roselle; Lourdes Leon, of Elizabeth; Freeholder Bruce Bergen, of Springfield; and Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded of Westfield -- filed papers in Union County Superior Court to prevent the use of voting booths at the convention.

“The UCDC's rules are clear, and in violating them, she sows disruption and confusion at this meeting. People will not know whether to follow Ms. Mahr or follow the rules,” Rev. Atkins said.

Mahr called the machines "the best way… that voters are assured that they have a right to vote their true feelings."

In the end, Judge Katherine Dupuis ruled against the use of machine ballots. The ruling led to Anthony Salters of Hillside’s dropping out of the race and throwing his support behind Colleen Mahr. Following the decision, attorneys for Mahr and Scutari reached a compromise in which paper ballots were distributed to voters, who were instructed to mark and then sign their names to them, thus making the voting “open.”

“We are dealing with a historic moment here,” Mahr told the crowd. “We have not had a contested election in decades.”

Committee members had a half-hour to sign and submit their ballots, which could be counted by delegation chairs before being sent to another room to be certified by auditors.

In the end, Scutari’s strength in Linden (69 voters), Elizabeth (113) and Plainfield (61) proved too much for Mahr, whose support came from nearby suburban towns such as Westfield and Cranford. Mahr’s campaign was hurt by the fact that many of neighboring Scotch Plains's committee voted for Scutari, who started off by thanking the township and Councilman John Del Sordi during his post-election remarks.

Scutari promised to “be the chairman of all 21 municipalities” in Union County and said “Colleen, you deserve all the praise in the world” before announcing that she would be his first vice chair.

While Mahr supporters were disappointed by the outcome, they were encouraged that the final tally was closer than they might have expected with the open ballot and that women in Union County now seem more willing to challenge the status quo.

“This is the way we do things in America (by voting),” said Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, ran as Mahr's vice chair. “We don’t send in the tanks.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

How to Report Potholes in Union County

April 21, 2018

With the winter weather finally winding down, potholes are a frequent issue for drivers. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders would like you to know there are resources you can use to report them to the proper agency.

"We certainly encourage drivers and commuters to report any pothole they encounter on roads throughout Union County to the responsible authority," said ...

Imagine Holds Annual Board Retreat

Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss held its annual board retreat on Saturday April 14th at its center in Mountainside.  "It was a valuable, thought-provoking, and educational day for all of us," said John Toriello, Chair of Governance.  "The board and staff worked together to establish the goals of the retreat and facilitate the agenda.  It was a great team ...

Due to Popular Demand, Union County Offers More CPR Classes

ROSELLE PARK, NJ -  Due to popular demand, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced, two additional CPR training classes have been added in May. Three sessions were previously scheduled in April and are already fully booked.

All classes are open to the general public.

“I encourage all Union County residents to learn basic first aid and emergency ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Chatham Township Committee Unanimously Adopts Ordinance to Ban Marijuana Retail Sales; Cannabis Advocates Disagree

April 13, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter began the new year by pledging to oppose Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Thursday night he followed through by voting to adopt an ordinance that prohibits "marijuana cultivation, production testing, manufacturing facilities and retail stores' in the township.

The Chatham Township Committee ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_11433c9e92ddbc063eae_103a27776b9f3cdaaab1_img_2579

Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

Our Lady of Peace , New Providence

Our Lady of the Peace Church Holds Healing & ...

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Other

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Education Other

Sun, April 22, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Celebrate National Poetry Month @NPML

Arts & Entertainment