Paterson’s Witherspoon Going after Passaic Freeholder Seat


Paterson Planning Board Member Wayne Witherspoon wants to screen with the Democratic County Committee for a Passaic County Freeholder seat this year.

“I plan on putting my name forward,” Witherspoon told InsiderNJ.

A mayoral appointee to the planning board, the special police officer served on Mayor Andre Sayegh’s 2018 transition team, serves as 3rd Ward 9th District County Committeemember, and is a former aide to former U.S. Rep. Herbert Kline.

Democratic Freeholder Bruce James and Freeholder T.J. Best are both up for reelection this year, and there are continuing questions about Best’s 2021 intentions.

His name continues to circulate as a possible 2022 challenger to Sayegh

In the lead-up to the holidays, InsiderNJ asked the freeholder about a future citywide run.

“I haven’t taken anything off of the table,” Best said.

Witherspoon wasn’t ready to say that Sayegh is ready to back him.

“I dont know what his plans are, but I would love to have his support,” said the Paterson Planning Board member, whose passion for government goes back to when he was ten years old and the teachings of his mother.

“Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, was the reason I got involved in politics,” Witherspoon said. “My mother thought it was a noble thing and she was very encouraging.”

Passaic County Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie was walking across the bridge over the Great Falls on his way home from football practice when he heard that Kennedy had been shot. There’s a connection there, and Currie (who also serves as Democratic State Committee chair) regards the freeholder board as “his baby,” in the words of one Passaic insider.

Locally, on the planning board, “We’ve encouraged the mayor’s economic development agenda, including a childcare center,” Witherspoon said, in reference to his year and a half-tenur.

“I want to continue to foster the good work the freeholders are doing,” he added of his countywide ambitions. “The freeholders are doing a great job.

“There may be an opening,” he added.

In the event that Best does in fact decide to run again and nails down Currie’s support, Witherspoon said he wouldn’t run against the incumbent in a Democratic Primary.

“I’m a good soldier,” he said.

But he added pointedly, “I foresee me winning this nomination.”


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