Whither Westfield: How Will Town by Town Fighting for the Chairmanship Impact the New Democratic Regime?


It’s taken on new dimensions of mythic import now that Democratic Mayor Shelley Brindle chopped down the totem pole of Gov. Chris Christie’s brain trust locally, a final ignominious act as Christie limped into the sunset.

But it’s got a practical political purpose, too, as CD7 candidates scramble to make nice with Union County Democratic Committee members who are likewise getting tugged toward either the camp of state Senator Nick Scutari (D-22) or Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr to serve as the next party chair.

Scutari starts his engines with Elizabeth, Linden and Plainfield with him, although a source tonight disputed the notion that Scutrari is rock solid in his home town, arguing that the forces of state Senator Joe Cryan (D-20) have built a relationship with Mayor Derek Armstead, a wary – and never natural – Scutari ally.

Mahr needs to strip votes out of suburbia – in places like her hometown of Fanwood and in those burghs where people – women in particular – have the warpaint on as part of a larger anti-Trump movement.

Places like Westfield; which happens to be the home of CD7 candidate Lisa Mandelblatt, who routinely points out at public events that those triumphant local supporters of Brindle’s told her in the aftermath of the general election, “You’ve got next.”

For her part, the congressional candidate stayed out of picking a horse, even as questions persist about whether her local allies will hold Mandelblatt over a hat-in-hand Mahr (or Scutari), once the chairman’s fight really intensifies.

“The selection of the next county chair is up to the members of the county committee,” Mandelblatt told InsiderNJ. “I have faith in the Democratic process and I will support whomever the rank and file Union County Democrats select. My focus right now is ensuring that CD7 is represented by someone who is going to fight for and truly represent the people of this district. That means flipping this seat from Red to Blue.”

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