Scutari Formally Declares His Candidacy for Union County Democratic Chair

Trying to take the reins in the midst of deep intraparty rivalries, state Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D-22) announced today that he is running for Union County Democratic Chairman with the backing of retiring Chairman Jerry Green, who is ill.

“Like all of us, I’m touched by Jerry’s selfless decision to put the party ahead of himself, and I am deeply honored by his support to succeed him,” Scutari said in a statement. “Growing up as a Democrat in Union County, I always admired Chairman Jerry Green and his predecessor, Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo. Now, in this era of Trumpism and the devaluation of people’s rights, we must move quickly to unite our party, build on the successes we have achieved so far, and focus on what’s really important – the most critical midterm election in a generation.

“I will work tirelessly to ensure qualified candidates are elected up and down the ballot in November so that our values are represented not just in Washington DC, but in Trenton and in our own backyard in Union County,” he added.

The sudden announcement rankled allies of Vice Chair Colleen Mahr, whom allies say should, by rights,  succeed Green.

“Do you think it’s going to sit well with the women of the county when Scutari takes the chairmanship away from Colleen Mahr, after those guys took the assembly seat from her [in 2015],” a source fumed.

But Scutari – targeting Trump in the declaration of his candidacy – appeared alert to the coming criticism, rolling out the support of Freeholder Vice Chairman Bette Jane Kowalski.

“Nick is a tough legislator that supports the issues that women hold deeply and that are in jeopardy like the right to choose, equal pay, education for our children and basic human rights,” Kowalski said. “We, on the Freeholder Board, look forward to his leadership and ability to bring people together. He is well positioned in Trenton as well, to make sure Union County residents’ voices are heard.”

Mayor Adrian Mapp of Plainfield also issued his endorsement.

Reelected in 2017, Mapp was a stout backer of Senator Joe Cryan’s (D-20) as recently as last year.

Sources say he’s interested in an assembly seat in LD22 if such an opening occurs.

“Senator Scutari, my Senator, has worked at all levels of government, local, County and State to make Union County a great place to raise a family, work and live,” said the Plainfield Mayor. “He understands the potency of our diversity, and the many hard-working Democrats that make this party robust.  

“When a Scotch Plains family needed medicinal help for a child with cancer, Senator Scutari changed the law to guarantee they received the assistance they needed,” he added, reflecting concern with the suburban portion of the district. “He also wrote the bill banning terrorists on the watch list from purchasing a gun. In my city of Plainfield, he successfully fought to keep the State of New Jersey anchored in the Park Madison Building to ensure our residents have access to the services they need. In short, Nick’s a fighter and has the values that we need in our next Democratic Chairman.”

In another coup for the Linden Senator, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage likewise endorsed Scutari noting, “Nick Scutari is steadfast and can unite the Party so that Republicans can no longer jeopardize our thriving cities. The residents of my City need someone who is not afraid to take on the establishment.”  

A life-long Union County resident, Scutari is the son of a IBEW Union electrician and a saleswoman, a traditional working-class family. As a commuter to Kean University, he finished college in three years with a degree in Psychology working his way through college. He then continued his education by earning a master’s degree in Education in less than one year from Rutgers University.  Following Rutgers, Scutari put himself through law school at Western Michigan University Law School.

Serving as the youngest member of the Linden Board of Education in 1994, Scutari won his seat by canvassing the entire City of Linden. In 1996, Scutari was elected as part of the team that took Democratic control of the Freeholder Board where he served until 2004. He helped to create the Union County Freeholder Scholar program, the Open Space & Historic Preservation Trust Fund, and spurred economic growth through innovative job training programs.  Scutari muscled his way into the State Senate in 2003 with a win over former Assemblywoman Linda Stender. He currently serves as the Chairman of the powerful State Judiciary Committee.

Scutari holds the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Seeking suffocation of the opposition, he released a list of his endorsements with his announcement: 

Berkeley Heights 

George W. Devanney, Chairman 

Susan Poage, Councilwoman 

Steve Yellin, Committeeman  



John Salerno, Chairman 

Bette Jane Kowalski, Freeholder 



Tony Teixeira, Chairman/ UCDC Vice Chairman  

  1. ChristianBollwage, Mayor

Sergio Granados, Freeholder Chairman  

Frank Cuesta, Councilman-at-Large 

Nelson Gonzalez, 2nd Ward Councilman 

Kevin Kiniery, 3rd Ward Councilman 

Bill Gallman, 5th Ward Councilman 

Frank Mazza, 6th Ward Councilman 

Maria Carvalho, Board of Education President 

Jose Rodriguez, Board of Education Vice-President 

Diane Barbosa, Board of Education Member 

Charlene Bathelus, Board of Education Member 

Stephanie Goncalves, Board of Education Member 

Jerry Jacobs, Board of Education Member 

Rosa Moreno-Ortega, Board of Education Member 



Charles Lombardo, Mayor 



Alexander Mirabella, Freeholder 



Peter Corvelli, Chairman/Sheriff 



Nicholas P. Scutari, Chairman  

Christopher Hudak, DSC Member/Freeholder 

Joe Bodek, UCDC Treasurer  


New Providence 

Steve Veloric, Union County Democratic Committee Executive Committee 



Adrian Mapp, Mayor/Chairman  

Linda Carter, Freeholder 

Jerry Green, Assemblyman/DSC Member 



Ray Giacobbe, Mayor 

Jim Kennedy, Assemblyman 



Reverend Reginald Atkins, Chairman  

Jamel Holley, Assemblyman 


Scotch Plains 

John DelSordi, Chairman  

Linda Stender, Former Assemblywoman  



Bruce Bergen, Freeholder 



Jordan Glatt, Former Mayor 



Margaret McManus, Chairwoman  



Union County Democratic Women’s Club 

Cherron Rountree, Co-Founder 

Phyllis Mirabella, Co-Founder 

Amy Wagner, Co-Founder 

Angie Devanney, Co-Founder/Committeewoman 


NJ LGBTQ Democratic Caucus of Union County 

Danni Newbury, Founder 

Robert Charkowsky, Officer 


Union County Young Democrats 

Kyle Holder – Vice President  

Manuel E. Ramirez – Treasurer  

Brandon Givens – Outreach Committee  

Elton Armady – Legislative Committee 

Janna Williams – Veterans Caucus 

Eric M. Brinton 

Nathalie Hernandez 

Nicholas Micheludis 

Elijah Junior 

Nicole DeAugstine  

Robert Charkowsky  

Eugene Esquival  

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