PLAINFIELD, NJ — The Plainfield Democratic City Committee announced to members on January 13 that they will meet on Saturday, February 8. The meeting is to include selecting a line candidate for the Councilman At-Large seat, currently held by Elton Armady.

But in a surprise move, Armady, who had been elected to fill the unexpired term of now Freeholder Rebecca Williams, told Chairman Adrian O. Mapp that he will not run for a full term. 

This was announced after a screening committee, made up of Councilwoman Joylette Mills-Ransome, Screening Committee Chair, former Second Ward Councilman Cory Storch, and small business owner Stacey Welch, met with prospective candidates, including Timothy Priano and Robert Graham.  According to an email to PDCC members, the committee was to submit their recommendations to Chairman Mapp on February 5.

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RELATED: I am asking for your endorsement and support for At-Large City Council

In an email to committee members on that same date, Chairman Mapp noted that Armady would not seek another term.  He said the committee chose Council President Steve Hockady to run for the Citywide At-Large seat.  Charles McRae was selected to continue to represent the Third Ward.

Councilor Elton Armady, who was elected to fill the unexpired term of former Councilor Rebecca Williams, now Freeholder Williams, has had a change of heart. He informed me that he will not be seeking to run for a full term in this year's primary, for personal reasons.

Please be further informed the screening committee chose Council President Steve Hockaday to be the PDCC 's candidate to run for the Citywide At-Large council seat. Charles McRae was the only person who submitted to the screening process for the 3rd ward seat. 

Therefore, I ask for your support for Steve Hockaday and Charles McRae, as the party’s nominees in this year’s primary. Both Steve and Charles will be presented to you as a slate at the official PDCC members meeting on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 11:00AM at the PDCC Headquarters -31 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield NJ 07060. You may be receiving calls from both Steve and Charles; please know they have my full support.

I want to thank Councilor Elton Armady for agreeing to serve out the unexpired term of Freeholder Williams. He has been an asset to the city and council. I wish him the absolute best.

Jim Spear, PDCC member and former Campaign Manager for Mayor Mapp, told TAPinto Plainfield, "Why would this announcement be made AFTER candidates were screened by Plainfield Democratic Committee Chairman Adrian Mapp’s steering committee?  Running against an incumbent who has the line for an at-large seat is a mammoth task — knowing that the incumbent is not running could have possibly brought out more people, more candidates, who may have wanted to serve their city."

Spear added, "And to make things worse, the steering committee chose a sitting ward councilman, instead of allowing someone new to run. This just proves how biased the process is, how biased the committee is, because when and if that councilman wins the at-large seat, the CHAIR gets to appoint his replacement for the ward seat.  It’s wrong, it’s gross, it’s a sham and it discourages anyone to participate in the process.  I encourage all PDCC members to boycott this staged event at democratic headquarters on Saturday."

Two candidates who are aligned with the New Jersey Progressive Democrats of Union County have thrown their hats into the ring to run for council seats in 2020.  They will be on the same line as Senator Bernie Sanders in the June 2 primary election.  Former Board of Education member David Rutherford will seek the Councilman-At-Large seat, while current Board of Ed member Emily Morgan will run to represent the Third Ward, opposing Charles McRae..

RELATED: Challengers Enter Plainfield's Council Race

Back in a 2018 shakeup, the committee had to choose between two candidates interested in representing the First Ward.  Gail Alexander and Ashley Davis spoke to committee members about their civic and political engagement.

2018: Plainfield Democratic City Committee Selects Slate

Before he called for nominations for the First Ward seat, Chairman Mapp said, “Now normally, what we do normally, in the past is that we would present a slate of candidates.  And we’ve done that in the past because we put together a vetting committee.  We didn’t do that, we didn’t have time to do any of that,” referencing the previous week’s vote for Union County Democratic Committee Chair.

A hand vote was taken, and Davis won 23-17.  She now represents the residents of the First Ward.

On Saturday, February 8, the PDCC will meet with committee members at 11 a.m.  The public has typically been invited to attend as observers. 

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