Anyone wondering about the political relations between slate mates Senator Joe Cryan (D-20) and Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20) need have no doubts.
In the aftermath of a Plainfield Democratic Committee meeting this morning, Holley responded to Mayor Adrian Mapp’s recounting of an episode that Mapp said involved Cryan presenting the option of Linden Mayor Derek Armstead for an assembly seat in the 22nd District should the ailing Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) be unable to continue.
Frail, Green last month resigned the chairmanship of the Union County Democratic Committee.
Holley said he believes Mapp and promptly lit into the newly sworn-in senator.
“What Joe Cryan did to Mayor Andrian Mapp and the City of Plainfield is appalling and disgusting,” the assemblyman said. “He is nothing more than a modern-day Bull Connor, pitting African Americans against one another. I’ll be the first to remind Joe that he lives in an 80 percent minority district. Joe Cryan does not represent the 22nd legislative district. He had no authority to ‘bargain’ away a seat that is not vacant.”
Cryan responded, denying Mapp’s account as a false episode.
But the vehemence of Holley’s remarks suggested that the oft-warring 20th District looks to be headed for an inevitable primary for the assemblyman’s seat in 2019, unless the sides can repair their differences.
“Jerry Green has built this party so everyone had an opportunity, including Joe,” said Holley. “Let’s be clear, the word Assemblyman still appears before Jerry Green’s name. Assemblyman Green has been a mentor to a lot of us here in Union County, and since he can’t speak up for himself now, we will. Colleen Mahr is well aware of Joe’s back room deal making. But she’s used to it with her old Jersey City political mentality coupled with his [Cryan] hiding behind the scene deal-making.”
To be fair, Holley’s preferred candidate to Acting Chair Colleen Mahr for the Union County Democratic Committee chairmanship is state Senator Nick Scuarti (D-22).
Sources told InsiderNJ that the senator and his allies worked the backroom scenes and diner booths just as vigorously in the weeks and days leading up to the party hammering out a Feb. 21st date to settle the chairmanship Green surrendered to focus on his health.
“Colleen and Cryan want to paint Nick as this old school party boss, but that’s furthest from the truth,” said Holley. “Nick Scutari is a Union County – American story. Growing up in Linden, serving as a local school board member, rising to the level as the youngest freeholder elected, walking in his journey to the State Senate…..that’s a true story. A life we all wake up everyday and try to succeed in our own respective lives and professions. Jerry will recover and will be stronger than ever. However, in the meantime, Nick Scutari he has endorsed to lead this party into the future.”
Then Holley lit into Mahr.
“If any committee person is listening , don’t be fooled by the Mahr rants,” he said of the mayor of Fanwood. “It’s political posturing trying to get votes. Her and Joe are the true old party style politics of this state. Nick will be a fresh breath of air.
“It’s a shame,” he added.