Government

State Senator Scutari and Fanwood's Mayor Colleen Mahr Position for Union Co. Democratic Leadership

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State Senator Nicholas Scutari seeks the position of Union County Democratic Chairman. Credits: John Mooney
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Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, shown here at a Go Red for Women heart health event, is vice chair of the Union County Democratic Committee. Credits: John Mooney
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Former Assemblywoman Linda Stender endorsed Nick Scutari for Union County Democratic Chair. Stender left politics after a scandal involving Habitat for Humanity and her family's shore home. Credits: John Mooney
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Jerry Green is stepping down as Democratic Committee Chair in Union County. Credits: John Mooney
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Scotch Plains Councilman John Del Sordi with Assemblyman Jerry Green and former Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover on Election Night 2015. Credits: John Mooney
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Mayor Colleen Mahr and the Fanwood Council on Jan. 1, 2018. Credits: John Mooney
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UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Shortly after Jerry Green announced that he would resign as chairman of Union County Democratic Committee, State Senator Nick Scutari issued a press release announcing his candidacy for the position and listed numerous endorsers, including Green, Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp, Scotch Plains Township Manager Al Mirabella and Scotch Plains Councilman John Del Sordi.
 
However,  Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr who has served as vice chair of the Union County Democratic Committee for the past five years, maintains that with Green's resignation, she is now acting chair and intends to go for the position. In a statement that she shared with TAPintoSPF, Mahr said:
 

Upon his (Jerry Green's) resignation, our County Party by-laws leave no doubt that the Vice-Chair assumes the role of Acting Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.  This is not an appointed position, it is an elected one. In that role, I will work with our County Committee to facilitate a Convention in order to fill vacancies, per the by-laws of our Committee. 

I will also be asking our County Committee for their vote for the position on a permanent basis at that Convention so that we may continue forward with the great work our Party does so well.” 

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Adding intrigue to the political drama is the fact that former Assemblywoman Linda Stender of Scotch Plains, at one time a friend and mentor to Colleen Mahr, also was listed as one of Scutari's endorsers. In 2015, Stender was pressured not to run again for the Assembly after revelations that her husband sought to have Habitat for Humanity demolish and rebuild a shore house damaged by Hurricane Sandy. 
 
Stender stepped aside and proxied her Scotch Plains Democratic Committee vote to Scutari, who backed the candidacy of Jim Kennedy over Mahr, who wanted the Democratic nod to run for the seat. Kennedy won the nomination and eventually the election, while Mahr continued as Union County Democratic Committee vice chair and won an unprecedented fourth term as Mayor of Fanwood
 
In the press release announcing his resignation, Jerry Green said: “Even though I am resigning as Chairman, I know the team we have assembled is ready to take our party to the next level. That’s why I’m asking you to consider my longtime friend and colleague, Nick Scutari, to succeed me. His credentials and abilities speak for themselves. Just as my predecessor Charlotte DeFilippo encouraged me to run as chairman, I am proud to support Nick to follow me.”
 
In a phone interview with TAPintoSPF, Scotch Plains Councilman John Del Sordi explained why he chose to endorse Scutari over Mahr.

"I've known Nick Scutari quite a long time. He is a beacon in our area and puts Democratic values and the needs of and the middle class first," Del Sordi said. "He knows the ins and outs of Union County."

"Colleen Mahr is a dynamic woman, and she brings a lot to the table, but when I had to make a decision who should lead Union County, it was Nick," Del Sordi explained. "Jerry Green worked tirelessly to put people first, and Nick will do the same. Colleen is like that too, but if you are asking who do I think will be the best one at the helm, Nick is the choice."

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