Linden Mayor Armstead Backs Mahr for Union Democratic Chair, Running for Vice Chair

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito asking for an investigation into business dealings between Parktowne Associates, which is owned by Union County Manager Ed Oatman and Union County Democratic Committee Executive Director Nick Fixmer, and various campaigns and publicly funded interests.

It’s apparently political payback time in Linden, the starting point for Mayor Derek Armstead’s pursuit of the office of vice chair of the county Democratic Party on a ticket with Union County Democratic Committee Acting Chair (and Fanwood Mayor) Colleen Mahr.

I stand in full support of Colleen Mahr to be the next Chair of our County Party and I am running as her Vice Chair,” said Armstead. “As a fellow mayor, Colleen knows how important it is to listen to all opinions and include every stakeholder. She has been a strong, visionary leader for our party and I will be asking county committee members to vote for us so we can continue fighting for Democrats throughout the county. 

“Our work begins in Union County and, now more than ever, the Union County Democratic Party needs leadership that will engage and listen to county committee members and Democrats throughout the county in the fight for our Democratic principles,” added Armstead.

The announcement shocked party members outside of LInden who expected Armstead to line up behind state Senator Nick Scutari (D-22), Mahr’s rival for the chairmanship given up yesterday by an ailing Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22).

But Armstead and the senator were never natural allies in their shared hometown, and a source last night told InsiderNJ that Armstead was irritated when Scutari denied him the chairmanship of the local party organization.

He’s gone rogue before.

As an anti-establishment Democratic councilman in the 4th Ward, Armstead first ran for mayor in 2010, beating the Scutari-backed Council President Robert Bunk and the local organization 1,704 to 1,972 , but then losing to independent Mayor Richard Gerbounka in the general by around 200 votes. He ran again four years later and defeated Gerbounka by 400 votes.

Linden appeared unified.

But appearances sometimes do not tell the whole story.

A source told InsiderNJ earlier this week that the mayor will likely spend all of his resources in an attempt to wrench the local committee away from Scutari.

But Armstead wants a piece of the county committee now, too.

“I believe it is critically important that we make sure ALL of our county committee members are partners and ALL of our voices are heard moving forward and I believe that Colleen Mahr is the choice to lead us in that direction,” he said.

The mayor’s endorsement of Mahr today reinvigorated the forces of Mahr, who yesterday endured a Scutari flurry that left them reeling by evening’s end, but weathering the senator’s endzone dance with promises of things to come.

As it turned out, the first counterpunch came in the form of the mayor of Scutari’s hometown bucking him.

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One response to “Linden Mayor Armstead Backs Mahr for Union Democratic Chair, Running for Vice Chair”

  1. The same dope who appeared in Chris Christie’s “Fairness Formula” video even though Linden would have gotten crushed under Christie’s school aid plan? Yeah, a really bright Democrat.

    Cut us a break. Armstead is a joke.

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