Who’s Up and Who’s Down: The Week of the 2019 Primary Elections

Insider NJ presents the week's winners and losers in New Jersey's political news during the week of 2019 primary elections statewide.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote about guys like Ordonez and Dominguin, who wielded capes and swords to subdue bigger foes in the bullring. There was a line that Hemingway wrote over and over again when describing how Ordonez – in particular – moved.

“It was the same beautiful cape work we had seen all season.”

That was Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19), who on Tuesday played the role of Ordonez in a Hemingway book, tasked with gracefully and artfully moving around the ring while avoiding the horns of a potentially deadly adversary otherwise known as the progressive movement.

Coughlin let linger the perception that he had the votes for pot, got done a path to $15 minimum wage, evidently scored the progressive governor’s endorsements for establishment incumbents who could’ve been branded too moldy to return to Trenton, and was in the middle of furrowed brow negotiations on the millionaire’s tax.

But even before the polls closed on Election Day, the speaker had the chutzpah to signal to his statehouse allies to start releasing statements about their support for a budget without Governor Phil Murphy’s coveted millionaire’s tax.

That’s cape work.

Who’s Up This Week in NJ Politics

Women Incumbent Mayors

Hamilton Republican Mayor Kelly Yaede and Roselle Democratic Mayor Christine Dansereau both survived primary challenges in their respective parties.

Matt Moench

The Bridgewater Republican ravaged his primary rival, incumbent Mayor Dan Hayes – 2,769 to 1,606 (63.2% to 36.7%) to earn his party’s nomination ahead of the general election. Moench will face Democrat Jeff Brookner, who won his party’s nomination with 1,344 votes. Helping Moench to victory was veteran GOP operative/attorney Chris Corsini.

Colleen Mahr

The Fanwood Mayor’s team scored a local victory by the veteran Union County leader. In the larger scheme of things, it won’t be enough (at this moment) to power Mahr over the sitting power structure of the county party organization, but it was a start. Following Tuesday’s Democratic Primary
Election in Union County, Mahr, Dansereau and Clark Democratic Municipal Chair Nancy Sheridan released the following statement: “Tuesday’s primary election brought huge wins for women throughout Union County and for people who believe in true Democratic values everywhere. We faced an uphill battle every step of the way that started with removing us, as incumbents, off the party line and even escalated to court battles simply to be allowed to run for re-election. After many, many years of service to our County Democratic Committee, it was certainly an eye-opening experience to find opposition within our own party trying to silence our voices.”

Jean Stanfield and Ryan Peters

This will be interesting, watching how these two Republican candidates for the assembly – victorios this past Tuesday – stave off a politically well connected general election challenge by Democrats Gina LaPlaca and Mark Natale in an 8th District coveted by Dems.

Tim Pino

Final vote count and challenge to follow. But whatever happens finally, the former K-9 officer stands within a couple hundred votes of almost upsetting the Republican establishment candidate for sheriff (Bill Parenti) in Somerset County (6,981 to 6,755 at last count). Former Franklin Twp. Police Lt. Darrin Russo, the Democratic nominee for sheriff, did better than both of them by rustling up 7,036 votes. Even if the clerk formally chalks a Parenti win (which appears likely), Pino’s in the general election catbird seat when it comes to his endorsement.

Who’s Down This Week in NJ Politics

Michael Patrick Carroll

It hurts, watching one of the last literate minds in the state go down in defeat in what proved a wrong-headed play to be the Morris County surrogate. Carroll lost to Freeholder Heather Darling, 9,110 to 9,670 votes.

Union County

The county’s just a mangled mess politically, with Democratic bosses in both sides claiming victory on the heels of Tuesday’s elections. State Senator Nick Scutari (D-22) apparently won more committee seats, while state Senator Joe Cryan (D-20) ensnared more key chairmanships.

Joe Howarth

He tried. He really did try, the MAGA cap-wearing team player who got caught in the headlights of a party flip from R to D by top of the ticket mate state Senator Dawn Addiego, mostly the casualty of the GOP’s scramble to get a woman on the ticket in LD8 (Stanfield, see above) to stem a potential LaPlaca tide.

The Collingswood Democratic Establishment

Bucking the massive trend of Camden County Democratic victories everywhere else, 16 self-described progressives defeated the machine with more than 51 percent of the vote. “The challengers collected 904 total votes, edging the incumbents who had 838 votes, according to the county website. Results remain unofficial until certified.” Look for Collingswood to be a staging area for a 2020 alternative to U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1), an establishment source said.

Tom Lankey

The Edison Mayor’s slate took a beating on Tuesday night. Makes him look weak. Conversely, it was a great night for Edison Democratic Committee Chairman Shariq Ahmad, whose slate swept the Democratic Primary. Actually, it was a good night for Shariq, until this.

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One response to “Who’s Up and Who’s Down: The Week of the 2019 Primary Elections”

  1. Total Loser – Gov. Phony Phil. The legislative report verifies the inept and corrupt actions of the Murphy administration. Now they hired the brother of Spartacus. Hey, where has Gov. Me Too Tammy been? Awfully quiet on Katie Brennan – just like Spartacus. Worthless liars and phonies – the whole lot.

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