Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Showrunners

Monday's meeting included some topics I still have to write about, but there was one I missed until I read Max Pizzaro's report.

I saw someone snap a photo of John Campbell Jr. at the microphone in public comment, and I also spotted another self-proclaimed "political operative" in the crowd. I missed the third person Pizzaro named as a campaign manager, but appreciated his story for filling in some blanks in my knowledge of the 2017 mayoral campaign. Having heard the term "showrunner" one time too many and finally looking it up, I think it is somewhat equivalent to what campaign managers and political operatives do in Plainfield, especially when there is a mayoral race.

Campbell, a 2013 Republican candidate for a District 22 Assembly seat and a 2015 independent candidate for the Plainfield Second Ward City Council seat, is the scion of "kingmaker" John Campbell and former school board ruler Wilma Campbell. He is managing the campaign of Democrat Rev. Tracey Brown, former PMUA commissioner and most recently the Citywide at-large City Council representative, a seat she lost to current Council President Rebecca Williams.

Stroud guided Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's success in 2013 and is apparently the manager for Mapp's current re-election bid. His LinkedIn page notes involvement in Somerset County and Congressional campaigns. His consultancy's title is "Dude I'm Right Here, LLC." As Pizzaro's article notes, Mapp has the Democratic line for mayor, thanks to Assemblyman Jerry Green, who is the Union County Democratic Party chairman.

Pizzaro names Maurice Clark as manager for Councilwoman Bridget Rivers' mayoral campaign. Clark captured on video one of Rivers' spats with Williams and posted it on Facebook, saying "Councilwoman Rivers can't be silenced." Other posts featuring Rivers' outspoken manner are captioned, "The Councilwoman goes off" and "This is what a leader sounds like."

The only other announced candidate for mayor is Mustapha Muhammad, a Nation of Islam partisan who intends to file June 6 as an independent.

Besides the mayoral seat, there are two council seats to be filled this year, one four-year term for Fourth Ward and an unexpired term for the Second & Third Wards at-large seat. Mapp's running mates are Steve Hockaday for Fourth Ward and Joylette Mills-Ransome, now an appointee for the unexpired term. Rivers and Brown have not announced full slates, as far as I know, but all shall be revealed on April 3.

The other possible contest this year is for chairmanship of the Democratic City Committee. There are 68 seats, a male and female for each of 34 districts in the city's four wards. Mapp won the seat in 2015, unseating Green. According to blogger Dan Damon, the committee is hosting a breakfast Saturday to collect petitions, even though the filing date is more than two weeks away, on April 3. The winners of committee seats on June 6 will meet on June 12 to vote for a chairman, officers and ward leaders to serve until June 2019.

--Bernice

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