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Piscataway Councilman James Bullard. (Photo: James Bullard).

Piscataway councilman drops re-election bid after winning contested primary

James Bullard will serve remainder of term. Democratic county committee will pick replacement candidate tonight

By David Wildstein, August 16 2022 2:20 pm

Update: The Piscataway Democratic County Committee selected Dennis Espinosa as their replacement candidate on Tuesday evening.  He defeated Ralph Johnson 13-0 in a vote of the Ward 2 county committee.  In a vote of the full county committee, Espinosa won 39-2.  

Piscataway Councilman James Bullard has dropped his bid for re-election to a fourth term, triggering a vote of the local Democratic county committee to pick a replacement candidate tonight.

The 80-year-old Bullard, who had a heart transplant fifteen years ago, is planning to serve out the remainder of his term and leave office at the end of the year.

He had won a contested Democratic primary for the Ward 2 council seat in June by 391 votes, 62%-28%, against school board member Ralph Johnson.

Dennis Espinosa, a planning board member and the Democratic municipal vice chair — and an 11-year soccer coach — is seeking support to take Bullard’s place on the ballot.  Organization candidates hold a majority of county committee seats.

Johnson has indicated his intent to run, and it’s not clear if other candidates will be placed into nomination.

Statutorily, only Democratic county committee members in Ward 2 are eligible to vote to pick a new candidate, but that’s a murky topic.

Ward boundaries were redrawn earlier this year and county committee members last ran in 2019, so some Ward 2 county committee no longer live in the ward, and some county committee elected from other wards are now Ward 2 residents.

The winner of tonight’s vote will be unopposed on the general election ballot.  No Republicans for independents filed for the seat.

Johnson had objected to procedural issues related to tonight’s vote.

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