Initial filings for Plainfield's 68-seat Democratic City Committee reveal plans for a palace coup.
In 2015, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's team won enough seats to wrest the chairmanship away from longtime Chairman Jerry Green. Running off the line and winning meant Mapp's "Progressive Democratic Organization" candidates became members of the Regular Democratic Organization, kind of a play on the old "we have met the enemy and it is us" joke.
Fast forward two years and the RDOs are now seeing a challenge from another PDO, mayoral candidate Tracey Brown's "Plainfield Democratic Organization."
As all good political observers in the Queen City know, there are 34 voting districts within the city's four wards, with male and female seats in each one for a total of 68. Every two years, Democratic voters get to choose city committee members in each voting district and the winners become a subset of the county committee. In 2015, Mapp won 48 of the 68 seats and became the new chairman.
The 2017 filings presently show 68 RDO candidates but also what looks like 32 Tracey Brown PDOs (two are in red, whatever that means). The factions can challenge each others' candidates and the tally is not yet final. So it looks like a PDO takeover may be out of reach, but the effort was strong compared to another one this year. Councilwoman Bridget Rivers is running with the slogan Democrats of Plainfield, and there were two DOPs in the First Ward, namely the Tolivers; one in the Third Ward and four in the Fourth Ward, including Rivers and her boyfriend.
Challenges to candidates' petitions should be resolved this week. Voters will see slates on their primary ballots that include the City Committee candidates in each district. On the Monday following the primary, the winners of City Committee seats will meet to vote on a chairman to serve for two years. The Regular Democratic Organization oral of Union County, comprised of all the municipal committees, meets the next day to elect a county chairman for two years, Jerry Green is the current RDO county chairman.
Primary Day (June 6) is also when any independent candidates file. Former mayoral candidate Mustapha Muhammad has already declared on Facebook that he intends to file for mayor this year as an independent, noting that the primary will whittle the Democratic field down to one for the November 7 general election.