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Linden Mayor Derek Armstead

Armstead fields Assembly candidates

Feud Between Linden Mayor, Scutari grows

By Nikita Biryukov, April 01 2019 5:24 pm

The feud between Linden Mayor Derek Armstead and State Sen. Nicholas Scutari is working its way into the 22nd legislative district’s Assembly race.

Armstead filed petitions Monday for Carlos Rivas and Mark Lighten. The two will face Assemblyman James Kennedy and Assemblywoman Linda Carter.

Though Armstead and Scutari have at time taken measures to quell the feud, but at the moment, it’s steaming ahead unabated.

Last year, Scutari, who is Union County Democratic chairman, dropped Armstead from the county line and backed a primary challenger who unsuccessfully ran for the seat. Armstead has since ousted Scutari from his role as municipal prosecutor.

Scutari responded by pushing a bill through the State Senate that would bar retroactive pay increases like the one Armstead received for last year. The bill is awaiting action in the Assembly.

Armstead is also pushing against Scutari on other fronts.

The mayor endorsed a slate of freeholder candidates — Plainfield school board member Wilma Campbell, Armstead chief of staff Alex Lospinoso, and former Roselle city councilwoman Sylvia Turnage — running against the county-backed candidates.

Scutari’s slate is made up of incumbent Freeholders Bette Jane Kowalski, Sergio Granados and Rebecca Williams.

Armstead is also pushing to wrest control of Linden’s County Democratic Organization. He filed candidates for 64 of the committee’s 72 seats.

Still, Armstead isn’t completely unwilling to budge on his escalating feud with Scutari, though it’d be unwise to expect an end to the infighting anytime soon.

“There can be peace if they stop wasting money,” Armstead said, adding later: “Until that time, we will be at war.”

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