Plainfield on the Line: Mapp Versus Wyatt

Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp

PLAINFIELD – The Democratic Party establishment in this state did everything in its power to suction cup a grim circus tent over the political atmosphere and deprive the human condition of any insurrectionary tendencies.

For four years it got away with a massively successful mantra: “Trump bad, Democrats – even if you hate us – good, because you have nowhere else to go.”

But with Trump out of office and COVID-19 apparently tapering, the majority party had other encroaching challenges, like actual people on the ground clamoring for goods and services.

Of course, the establishment occupied the potent Democratic Party line, making it difficult for any nuanced – or intellectual – argument to gain oxygen, as the establishment sought a prolonged crisis runway back into power.

In Tuesday’s Democratic Primary, it added up to no one – or few – believing anyone except incumbents or power players had a shot.  “The line’s going to sweep everyone back in,” a source – with a face only half covered by a surgical mask – told InsiderNJ.

He added, “I don’t expect any upsets.” That said, the insider acknowledged the closeness of the Plainfield Mayor’s race, in which incumbent Adrian Mapp seeks an unprecedented third term in the chair of local power.

Bolstered by the Democratic Party line in a gubernatorial election year, Mapp ($342,547 raised, according to ELEC) faces a stern and legitimate challenge from School Board Member Richard Wyatt ($25,595 raised), who has real questions about the Democrats’ implementation of marijuana legalization locally, and development at the expense of the people of Plainfield, his overriding counter argument to the sitting administration.

Wyatt
Wyatt

 

Mapp with labor leader Kevin Brown and SEIU campaign ground pounders.

At an event today at City Hall attended by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver (who herself occupies the party’s line A position under Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday’s ballot), Mapp flexed his political muscles by unveiling a plaque rededicating the historic atrium here “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” complete with an embossed likeness of the late George Floyd.  “This is a progressive administration that seeks to ensure equality, justice, and equity for all people, and I am sure the governor’s office knows that Black Lives Matter,” Mapp told InsiderNJ.

On the other side of town, at his own rally in Cedar Brook Park, featuring purple-shirted supporters

Wyatt’s picnic.

enjoying a barbecue while young people played soccer on fields nearby, Wyatt said local residents see through the party ruse. “People are starting to realize that [the establishment] doesn’t have our best interests at heart,” said the challenger, who noted that the county denied permits for a candlelight vigil honoring the victims of gun violence and the city itself denied his campaign a zoning permit to establishment a rival headquarters to the siting mayor.

Palpable energy surged through the event as Wyatt backers assured InsiderNJ they will win on Tuesday, while Mapp’s allies off-the-record acknowledged a tight race that the incumbent can’t lose on the strength of the built-in advantages associated with the party line.

To a person, sources confirmed a contest, some even going so far as to wonder about the incumbent’s ability to withstand the challenge.

“If grassroots electorate comes out strong in fourth ward; and upper income second ward who had a falling out with Adrian, vote [Councilman Sean] McKenna [running for mayor and acting in the capacity of spoiler], I don’t see where he gets the votes,” a source told InsiderNJ. “Suffice it to say it’s gonna be a long night.”

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