From a 2005 post:
This is Plainfield: “Democrats hold a slight edge in registered voters over the Republican Party in Plainfield. Increasingly, the city has supported Democratic candidates in state and national elections, while the two parties remain quite competitive in local elections. From 1974 through 1981 Plainfield has had a Republican mayor but a Democratic majority on the council.”
Actually, that was Plainfield in 1982, the last year the League of Women Voters was able to produce its informative “This is Plainfield” booklet. A scant generation later, registered Republicans are outnumbered 8 to 1 by Democrats and more than 7 to 1 by voters who don’t belong to either party.
In 1982, the LWV booklet listed 42 voting districts. Now, due to voter apathy, that number has dwindled to 34. That means voters were once able to choose a male and female representative in each district for a total of 84 grassroots elected representatives and now there are only 68 City Committee seats for each party.
The ratio of registered Democrats to Republicans is now around 14 to one. When Republicans reorganized in 2014, they only filled 15 of the 68 seats. I don't have 2016 number, but it's likely similar.
There was a time when Democrats didn't bother to fill every last seat, but after former Mayor Harold Mitchell did so one year and had enough votes to challenge longtime Chairman Jerry Green, both Green and any Democratic factions have aimed for 68 committee nominees.
In 2015, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's slate for the Union County Progressive Democratic Organization lacked only three candidates. Green's Regular Democratic Organization of Union County had a full slate of 68. Mapp's team won 48 of the 68 seats and he became chairman.
By wards, Mapp's team won six of 16 First Ward seats, 22 of 22 Second Ward seats, 18 of 18 Third Ward seats and two of 10 Fourth Ward seats, roughly matching a perceived class difference. Both Ward 2 and 3 are actually diverse racially and economically, but Ward 4 is especially economically challenged. Ward 4 also had more voting districts several years ago, but lost them to low voter turnout.
Campaign teams can give you chapter and verse on voting habits of each district, but I have not gone that granular, mainly because the public just wants to know who won and by how much. Politicians sometimes throw shade by citing opposing winners' margins, though a win is a win.
In two weeks candidates must file for the June 6 primary. Whether you are new to Plainfield or a longtime resident, please pay attention to what candidates say. In these times, it is my opinion that those seeking municipal office must focus closely on stewardship, constituent service and advocacy for the city in an increasingly hostile political atmosphere at higher levels. That goes for primary winners as well as independents who file on June 6. Good luck to all!