Saturday, April 11, 2009

2009 Primary - PolitickerNJ - New Dems field challenger in LD 22


April 9, 2009 - 6:08pm

With eye on mayoral line, New Democrats field
Plainfield challenger in LD 22

Jim McGreevey’s residential status in Plainfield sends Union County Democratic Party operatives into off-the-record spin mode characterizing the disgraced former governor as a fixture of the local rebel camp of self-styled New Democrats, a charge that today made mayoral candidate Councilman Adrian Mapp chuckle just before he shot it down.

“Jim McGreevey is a neighbor of the McWilliams’s (family of the late Mayor Al McWilliams and Councilwoman Annie McWilliams),” said Mapp, who’s challenging incumbent Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs in the Democratic Primary. “He’s not affiliated with the New Democrats in any shape, or fashion. There’s no affiliation.”

Running for her second term, the party establishment-backed Robinson-Briggs is allied with Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield) and Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood), who face a 22nd District general election challenge from Republicans former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks and his running mate, newcomer Bo Vastine.

In the meantime, Green and Stender will have to get through Rick Smiley, 49, the New Democrat Assembly candidate who heads a ticket in Plainfield that includes mayoral candidate Mapp, an ally of Councilwoman McWilliams’s and leader of the organization.

Employed by the City of Plainfield for 23 years as director of community relations among other jobs, Smiley is on leave from his job coordinating the opening of Headstart facilities, to focus on the campaign.

“The closing of Muhlenberg Hospital transcends Plainfield,” said Smiley. “My message will get around. I’ve got a little time now to get my message out there.”

The New Democrats’ decision not to field a second assembly candidate who does not hail from Plainfield indicates their focus on the mayor’s race.

“I’m comfortable having Rick on the ticket,” said Mapp, Roselle’s chief financial officer by profession. “There is such a level of dissatisfaction in Plainfield and in the 22nd District. Every town in the legislative district was affected by the closing of the hospital.”

Max Pizarro is a Reporter and can be reached via email at

Related topics: Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Rick Smiley, Martin Marks, Linda Stender, Jim McGreevey, Jerry Green, Bo Vastine, Annie McWilliams, Al McWIlliams, Adrian Mapp

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About Me

Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.