Monday, June 05, 2006

Local GOP To Reorganize After Primary

Republicans make up only about 6 percent of Plainfield’s registered voters, but still, this is their year to elect a municipal committee and pick a chairman for the next two years.

Democrats and Republicans reorganize municipal committees in alternate years, on Mondays after the June primary that falls on the first Tuesday. With no local primary contests, the Republican reorganization takes the spotlight this year. Polls will be open Tuesday (June 6, 2006) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Plainfield Municipal Republican Committee Chairwoman Sandy Spector said candidates submitted petitions for about half of the 68 possible seats. Plainfield has 34 voting districts, with male and female seats in each district. The municipal committee becomes part of each party’s county committee.

After a tumultuous primary and general election last year, Spector said this year will be one of “revitalizing and reorganizing” to build party strength. The elected committee and campaign committees will be busy getting out the vote for Republicans in the general election. Republican City Council candidates Angela Perun and Arlington Johnson are now forming their campaign committees, she said.

In the Nov. 7 general election, Perun will face Democratic incumbent Councilman Rashid Burney in the 2nd & 3rd Ward at-large contest and Johnson will challenge Democratic incumbent Rayland Van Blake in the 1st Ward.

“We’re all going to be working actively for our two candidates,” Spector said.

The Republican reorganization will take place at 7:30 p.m. June 12 in the Fitch Quality Conference Room at Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, Park Avenue and Randolph Road.

Last year, former Mayor Albert T. McWilliams became a Republican after losing the Democratic primary to Sharon Robinson-Briggs. Denied the right to run as a Republican in the general election after running as a Democrat in the primary, McWilliams and his New Democrat and Republican “fusion” supporters ran a write-in campaign in the general election, but again lost to Robinson-Briggs. She was sworn in Jan. 1 as the city’s first African-American female mayor.

Spector said McWilliams is still a Republican and was the “celebrity of the moment” at the annual Union County Republican Lincoln Day celebration this year. But she said he is also enjoying a well-deserved break from the political battles of last year.

Even though McWilliams became a Republican, many of his supporters are still active with the New Democrats for Plainfield organization headed by Union County Freeholder Adrian Mapp. The group is sponsoring a June 15 community forum on Abbott school construction, 6 p.m. at First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, 724 Park Ave.

Plainfield’s hopes for a new middle school and other new school buildings were dashed when the New Jersey Schools Construction Corp. ran out of money.

Meanwhile, though unopposed, Van Blake and Burney recently put out lawn signs. Just making sure, guys?

--Bernice Paglia


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