Councilman-elect Charles McRae, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City Council victories Tuesday mean Mayor Adrian O. Mapp will finally have a supportive majority on the governing body.
With the election of Charles McRae to the Third Ward seat and Rebecca Williams to the Citywide at-large seat, plus an appointee to fill Williams' unexpired Second & Third Ward term, Mapp will be able to count to a friendly five on the seven-member council in January.
Williams was unopposed Tuesday for the Citywide at-large seat and received 10,494 votes, according to unofficial results posted by Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi. In the Third Ward, McRae won with 2,364 votes, overcoming a challenge from former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, who ran as an Independent and got 952 votes. Official results are expected Monday.
Supporters applaud Mapp's remarks
Councilman Barry Goode, Citywide at-large Councilwoman-elect Rebecca Williams.
Williams called McRae's win "clearly a mandate for fresh, responsive leadership in the Third Ward" and said, "I'm gratified that the voters had enough confidence in me to vote for me as their citywide representative."
She said a lot of voters know her from her 15 years of walking across the city for various campaigns. She helped several people run and win off the line and finally did so herself twice before getting the line this year from the Democratic City Committee chaired by Mapp.
Mapp displaced Assemblyman Jerry Green as city committee chairman in June 2015, though Green retained the Union County Democratic Committee chairmanship. All the elected officials are Democrats, but they are split between Green and Mapp. Green opened campaign headquarters on Park Avenue, even though Mapp had Democratic headquarters on Watchung Avenue. Both urged support of Column A, but Green omitted the council candidates from signage and from a handout to voters at the polls. The handout had Green's photo and an image of the ballot that left off the council line.
Mapp recalled Tuesday that when he took office, he had only two supporters on the council.
"Just imagine what I am able to do with five," Mapp said, but quickly named the challenges ahead.
"I am in the third year of a four-year term," he said. "I have to run for re-election in seven months."
Mapp said his name will be on the June primary ballot, along with candidates for the Fourth Ward and Second & Third Ward at-large seat.
"I want to ask each and every one to be supportive of my re-election, to make sure we get the right results," he said, announcing a "birthday bash" event on Dec. 2 to launch the re-election campaign.
Not only will Mapp have to run for re-election in 2017, the 68 City Committee seats will be up in June and winners will choose the chair for the following two years. The appointee replacing Williams in the Second & Third Ward at-large seat will have to run in the June primary, as will Fourth Ward candidates. If unsuccessful, the appointee would have to yield in November to the winner of the general election.