Rank-and-file county committee members are lining up behind Mercer County Freeholder Anthony Verrelli in the race to fill Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora’s seat.
Lawrence’s county committee, the third-largest committee in the district, endorsed Verrelli on Tuesday after two-thirds of the town’s committee people voted to back the race’s frontrunner.
“Securing the Lawrence Democratic Committee’s endorsement is particularly special to me as I grew up and attended high school here,” Verrelli said in a statement.
At 42 seats, the town’s Democratic committee represents the third-largest chunk of votes in the special election to fill Gusciora’s seat, and the win makes things look more and more grim for Verrelli’s five opponents.
Earlier in July, Verrelli was endorsed by Ewing Township’s 56-member Democratic committee, which represents the second-largest chunk of votes.
The only saving grace for the remaining candidates is that Trenton’s committee people have yet to indicate how they will vote. The city represents the district’s largest voting block, with 92 total seats, about a third of the votes, less any seats that are unfilled.
But, that may not be the lifeline other candidates need. For one, Raissa Walker, who won reelection as chair of Trenton’s municipal committee by a two-to-one margin earlier this year, is a county employee, and while that’s no guarantee that her loyalties fall with the freeholder, it’s hard to imagine her backing any of the other candidates.
Besides that, Verrelli’s earned the endorsements of some high-level Trenton Democrats. Trenton Council President Kathy McBride and Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson have put their weight behind Verrelli.
It’s not clear how valuable the latter endorsements will prove given the nature of this election, but the path to victory for the other candidates is looking narrower and narrower as the Thursday election nears.