Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Fourth Ward Victory Grows Slimmer

Absentee ballots have narrowed results in the Fourth Ward City Council seat race to a mere five votes, Union County election officials confirmed Wednesday.

Primary night results had Mayor Sharon-Robinson-Briggs' running mate, Vera Greaves, seven votes short of the 237 cast for Bridget Rivers, but the count now stands 238 to 243, with provisional ballots yet to be tallied.

Greaves was making her first try for elective office, while Rivers won her second term on the Plainfield Board of Education in April 2008 and is serving her second stint as board president.

Provisional ballots are expected to be counted by Friday and official primary results will be released Monday by Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi.

According to a guide Rajoppi published on 2009 election dates, June 17 is the deadline for seeking a recount of the June primary election. "Application for a recount must be made with Judge of Superior Court," the guide states.

Plainfielder Deborah J. Dowe filed June 2 as an independent mayoral candidate, meaning Robinson-Briggs will face Dowe and Republican James Pivnichny in the November 3 general election. Dowe most recently filed to run as a Republican in 2008 for the citywide at-large City Council seat, but dropped out before the November election, leaving June Democratic primary winner Annie McWilliams unopposed in the general election. McWilliams, a daughter of the late two-term Mayor Albert T. McWilliams, began a four-year term on Jan. 1.

Previously, Dowe ran for the Second Ward City Council seat in 2007.

On Monday, winners of the 68 Democratic City Committee seats will meet to select the party chairman for the next two years, a post held by Assemblyman Jerry Green for many years except for one two-year ousting by former Mayor McWilliams, who led the New Democrats faction against the machine. This year, New Democrat successor Adrian Mapp, a former freeholder and councilman now in a new council term representing the Third Ward, fielded a slate of committee candidates against Green's roster, but may not have garnered a majority to challenge Green on Monday.

--Bernice Paglia


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