As an observer of Plainfield politics since 1983, I can attest that things can get as wild and woolly here as in any major city across the state. The size of the prize doesn't even matter sometimes, as witness the recent kerfuffle over a single voting district containing less than 3 percent of the city's registered Democrats.
A resident who agreed to fill in a vacancy on the Democratic City Committee duly filed petitions to be elected this year for a full two-year term. Cue the theme from Jaws here as a state official who lives in the district (one of 68 citywide) decided he wanted the seat and put the strong-arm on the local chairman to make it happen.
The incumbent resident was asked to step aside. He agreed, but then felt aggrieved. After all, he was quite active on the local level, so much so that he and his wife were being honored this month for their support of a major cultural institution.
He asked this blogger for space to tell his story. No sooner did it hit the blogosphere than it got more page views than the total of registered Democrats in the voting district in question. It went on to garner nearly triple that number of page views.
For whatever reason, the state official withdrew himself from running for the district seat. Maybe he thought the reaction over his move would reflect badly on his run for re-election to state office this year. Maybe his action made the slate, with a gubernatorial candidate at the top, look bad. Perhaps the threat of a write-in landslide by the wronged person's friends played a role.
As in most political brouhahas, it's not over until it's over. What is the status of the original filer now? Will his friends write him in to show their distaste, or skip voting for re-election of the state official in his own hometown?
I conclude with the words of the person who was asked to step aside, yet forgave the local chairman and even pledged support to his re-election campaign:
"I am convinced that side deals will only continue to erode our already fractured and fragile system. I am taking the opportunity of what has transpired with me these past few weeks, to once again ask for a more civil political discourse where we honor and respect differences as a bridge to a better future for all of our citizens."