PLAINFIELD, NJ - In Plainfield, where Democrats make up 65 percent of registered voters, primary results are regarded as tantamount to a win in the general election, even though turnout tends to be low.
The Union County Board of Elections has just posted the total number of registered voters countywide and Plainfield’s tally is 23,072, up 227 from November’s count. Of those, 15,065 are Democrats and 1,015 are Republicans, with smatterings of other affiliations (to see all, scroll down to Plainfield at http://ucnj.org/board-of-elections/affiliation-statistics/ or download here).
Not surprisingly, no Republicans filed for the primary. Incumbent Ward 1 Democrat Diane Toliver faces a challenge from newcomer Ashley Davis. Wards 2 &3 at-large incumbent Joylette Mills-Ransome is running against Cameron E. Cox, who is currently vice president of the Plainfield Board of Education. Davis and Mills-Ransome are on the Regular Democrats slate, along with candidates for Senate, House of Representatives and Union County Freeholders. Cox and Toliver are on Column D.
When Toliver ran in 2014, there were 3,051 registered Democrats in her ward, but only 803 cast votes and she won with 510. For Wards 2 & 3 at large, 7,694 Democrats were eligible to vote but only 2,169 votes were cast and Rebecca Williams won with 1,151. (Williams later became the citywide at-large representative and Mills-Ransome replaced her initially as an appointee.) Considering the perceived relevance of the primary vote, low turnout seems puzzling.
Primary winners will be challenged in the Nov. 6 general election by any independents who file on June 5. Plainfield’s school board election will also be held in November. Board of Education candidates must file by 4 p.m. on Monday, July 30.
The Plainfield League of Women Voters will hold a Candidates’ Forum on May 30, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Emerson Community School, 305 Emerson Ave. See http://plainfieldleague.blogspot.com/ for candidates’ biographical sketches and answers to three LWV questions. Written questions will be taken from the audience and posed to candidates by a LWV moderator.
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