PLAINFIELD, NJ - In the 2013 general election, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp overcame challenger Mustapha Muhammad, 5,234 to 1,061. Plainfield's official results for 2017 show Mapp similarly won a second four-year term by 5,677 to 1,502.
For this year, Mapp first had to win a Democratic primary over political newcomer Henrilynn Davis Ibezim, former Citywide at-large Councilwoman Rev. Tracey L. Brown and incumbent Fourth Ward Councilwoman Bridget Rivers. Muhammad urged voters to choose Brown in the primary and after Mapp won, Brown asked all who voted for her, plus everyone else, to vote for Muhammad, who filed on June 4 to run as an independent in the general election. He also ran in 2013 as an independent.
Mapp had the advantage of being on a complete Democratic roster headed by Phil Murphy for governor on Column A, while Muhammad had only a slot on Column C.
Muhammad campaigned this year on a repeated call to "give Plainfield back to the people," while Mapp, as the incumbent, pointed to a surge in redevelopment projects and other successes on the job. Among his innovations since taking office in January 2014, Mapp began a weekly newsletter to the community on the city website and promoted “One Plainfield, One Future” as his motto.
Mapp is also chairman of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee, which has representatives in each of the city’s 34 voting districts. Board of Elections numbers before the general election showed Democrats dominate eligible voters, numbering 14,978 out of a total 22,845 registered voters. There were 6,747 independents and only 963 Republicans eligible to vote. No Republicans filed to run for office in Plainfield.
Mapp's running mates, Councilwoman Joylette Mills-Ransome for Wards 2&3 at-large and Steve Hockaday for Ward 4, also won in the Democratic primary. Mills-Ransome received 3,766 votes and Hockaday garnered 846.
Plainfield’s local elections follow a pattern, and this year the mayoral and Ward 4 seats were up. Mills-Ransome became an appointee to her seat in January after incumbent Rebecca Williams overcame Brown’s 2016 bid for re-election to the City-wide at-large seat.
Those who still hanker for public office in Plainfield can try for other council seats while waiting for the 2021 mayoral race. In 2018, the Ward 1 and the Wards 2&3 at-large seat will be up for election for four-year terms, followed in 2019 by the Ward 2 and 1&4 at-large seats, and in 2020 by the Ward 3 and Citywide at-large seats. And then another re-match?