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Ewing, New Jersey is part of Mercer County's Einstein Alley high-tech corridor. (Photo: Township of Ewing).

Ewing Democrats on their own to pick county executive candidate, municipal chairman says

Local party takes no official position on Hughes vs. Benson race

By David Wildstein, February 13 2023 5:13 pm

Despite endorsements from three prominent political leaders, Ewing Democrats have decided not to take sides in the race for Mercer County Executive between five-term incumbent Brian Hughes and his primary challenger, Dan Benson.

In Ewing, which has roughly 60 votes at the March 5 Democratic convention, Hughes has the backing of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), Mayor Bert Steinmann, County Commissioner Terrence Stokes, and Councilmen David Schroth and Kevin Baxter.

County Commissioner Lucylle Walter and two Ewing councilwomen, Jennifer Keyes-Maloney and Kathleen Wollert, are backing Benson.  Local Democratic activist Charles Geter appeared on an early list on Benson backers, but Hughes says Geter has switched to his side.

The Democratic county committee, which is backing incumbent legislators and county commissioner for re-election, is staying out of the Hughes vs. Benson contest.

“Since we didn’t endorse, our county committee members are free to vote for any candidate they choose.  I left it up to them,” said Ewing Democratic Municipal Chairman Carl Benedetti, Sr.  “I don’t dictate.  I’m just the chairman.”

Hughes and Benson don’t need to win the convention to run in the organization column since the Mercer Democratic bylaws allow any candidate who receives at least 40% of the convention vote to appear on the line.

Benedetti declined to give winks and nods to his county committee.

“I’m staying neutral,” he said.  “I don’t like negative campaigns.”

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