On the eve of a scheduled special virtual Middlesex County Democratic Organization (MCDO) convention to fill an LD18 vacancy, Edison Councilman Joe Coyle fired off a letter to Chairman Kevin McCabe in response to denials by the organization to fulfill his request for an observer.
Coyle wants the seat vacated by Clerk Nancy Pinkin.
But so does East Brunswick Council President Sterley Stanley.
Stanley has the backing of the organization headed by McCabe.
That fact made Coyle especially eager to install an ally at the vote-tally point, but the organization – and specifically McCabe on at least one occasion – denied him with what amounted to a one-word reason:
What follows is Coyle’s attempt in writing to reverse the MCDO’s ruling following several dismissals.
“Please accept this email in furtherance to our ongoing discussions relating to our campaign having an observer at the headquarters of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization (MCDO) during the LD-18 special election scheduled for Tuesday evening,” Coyle wrote.
“This request comes to ensure full transparency of this election for all parties. This request was prompted by the fact that MCDO’s general legal counsel/Executive Board member has openly endorsed one candidate, actively campaigned for that candidate, and instructed county committee members to vote in a specific way. The concerns are amplified given that the executive board is tasked with oversight of the convention and under normal circumstances the general counsel is tasked with calling balls and strikes.
“By way of background, our campaign requested permission to allow one (1) observer at the headquarters to ensure a transparent process and to ensure the integrity of tomorrow night’s virtual convention. We further advised you that the observer will follow all COVID-19 protocols, including without limitation:
1. Limit the observer to one (1) individual;
2. Taking his/her temperature prior to entering the room;
3. Wearing a mask at all times; and
4. Staying 6 feet apart from all other individuals in the room.
“In addition, we further stated that we would agree to other reasonable measures that MCDO suggests.
“This afternoon, you advised me by telephone that you are not inclined to allow an observer from our campaign to witness the process by which MCDO runs this election. You did not elaborate on your decision, except to cite COVID-19. However, you did not address the precautions enumerated above.
“The request made by our campaign is wholly reasonable given the importance of the results from this convention. Unlike other conventions, this convention is not simply about awarding a party line. The vote will directly determine who will be sworn in as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly and who will take part in critical votes that have a direct impact on all residents, including those who reside in the 18th Legislative District.
“In the interest of openness, transparency, and confidence in the election process, I respectfully request you reconsider your decision. Thank you for your further consideration on this matter. Joe Coyle.”