2009: "Piv for Plainfield"
Republican Jim Pivnichny decided to mount his own campaign for mayor in 2009, and after Councilman Adrian Mapp failed to win the Democratic primary, a lot of reform-minded voters pinned their hopes on Pivnichny. The retired chemist did tongue-tied folks a favor by using the more easily pronounced "Piv" as his handle on his blog and campaign material and began pointing out the need for changes in city government.
As he noted after the primary, the field of two for mayor was compounded by the ever-constant presence of the mayor's mentor, Assemblyman Jerry Green. But he declared, "Two against one? I'm up to the challenge."
Piv became a close observer at City Council meetings and took to the microphone often to comment. His blog and that of fellow Republican Bo Vastine, a challenger for an Assembly seat, gave lively arguments for change in Plainfield. Of course, at the top of the GOP slate was U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Chris Christie, a top foe of political malfeasance in the Soprano State.
Green tried to convince voters that all three were "Bush" Republicans, his favorite slur when on attack even against fellow Democrats. Christie had the temerity to show up on Front Street while campaigning, bringing Green out of his Watchung Avenue lair to cast epithets.
While Piv didn't win, his tally was more than double the number of Republican registered voters, so somebody was paying attention.
This is the year when the local GOP reorganizes. While eligible to fill 68 committee seats, the party has come up far short in recent years. The chairman's seat is also up for election in June. Will Piv's enthusiasm for change perk up the party somehow? There hasn't been a Republican on the City Council for a long time, and two council seats are up for election in 2010. Meanwhile, Piv is still "for Plainfield," so keep reading that blog.