Union County Democratic Committee Vote: And the Winner is...

Line of UCDC voters outside the Gran Centurions. Credits: John Mooney
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
Dan Sullivan of Elizabeth and State Senator Nick Scutari of Linden who won the balloting for UCDC chair. Credits: John Mooney
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead Credits: John Mooney
Rev. Atkins and TAPinto Linden Editor Cynthia Atkins Credits: John Mooney
Cranford Mayor Tom Hannen Credits: John Mooney
The UCDC voting took place at the Gran Centurions on Wednesday Evening Credits: John Mooney

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 away with a 412-341 victory over Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr in a battled 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


Union County's March For Our Lives - County Wide March Planned

March 18, 2018

On March 24 at 10 a.m. Students of Union County will march to make sure that our schools are safe. The march will start at Burnet Middle School (1000 Caldwell Avenue, Union). It will end at the Union Township City Council Offices (1976 Morris Avenue, Union). All looking to protect American children by strengthening our laws and standing with the victims of all shootings inside places of ...

Hillsborough: Suspended HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years,, had been suspended ...

Do You Know How Colleges Calculate How Much You Should Pay?

In his last few videos Chris Curran has talked about college financial aid.    In today's Takeaway Tuesday Chris talks about Expected Family Contribution (EFC), Cost of Attendance(COA) and the amount of need an individual family may have based on those components.   

If you want to know how these things are calculated and what they mean to your child-bound child ...

Are You Harnessing the Potential of the College Financial Aid Process?

Chris Curran works with families to plan for college.  A big part of what he does is help families reduce the overall cost of college by harnessing the power of the financial aid process.   

Do you know what assets should be listed on financial aid forms and which should not?  Did you know that retirement accounts and some other family owned assets don't have to be ...

Proud to support Tom Malinowski for Congress

March 8, 2018

Every single day, whether I want to be or not, I am reminded how important it is that Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives in November and check Donald Trump. Fortunately, there is a terrific candidate in New Jersey's 7th Congressional District who can beat incumbent Leonard Lance. That candidate is Tom Malinowski.

I'm a lifelong New Jersey resident -- including ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


State-of-the-Art Pain Relief Therapy Now Available at Cornerstone Physical Therapy of Clark

CLARK, NJ – Cornerstone Physical Therapy Health and Wellness Center is now offering the latest technology in therapeutic pain relief with the introduction of the LightForce™ EXPi Deep Tissue Therapy Laser.  This therapy offers the highest level of pain relief available using a new and enhanced 25 watt Class IV Laser.

Laser Therapy is a surgery-free, drug-free option for ...