A pair of disgruntled ex-officials from East Orange are challenging the Essex County Democratic organization candidates for two countywide offices.
Former Essex County Freeholder Carol Y. Clark has announced that she will run for Essex County Register of Deeds and Mortgages in the June primary against Juan Rivera, a former freeholder.
The incumbent, Dana Rone, is not seeking re-election to a second term.
Saunders will challenge incumbent Romaine Greer, who won a special election convention earlier this month to fill the seat of the late Lebby C. Jones.
Greer, a former Irvington school board president and a political ally of mayor Tony Vauss, will seek the remaining fourteen months of Jones’ term in the November special election.
Clark, a former Upsala College women’s basketball coach, spent eight years as an East Orange city councilwoman before winning a District 3 freeholder seat in 2002. She ran for mayor in 2013, finishing third in the Democratic primary – 1,191 votes behind winner Lester Taylor and 66 votes ahead of four-term incumbent Robert Bowser.
Both Clark and Saunders had sought appointments in East Orange, after Ted Green succeeded Taylor as mayor in January 2018.
Clark wanted to be deputy mayor – assigned to the New Jersey statehouse, a no-go for Green – and Saunders lost his job as the city’s director of property maintenance and code enforcement.
The slate may be tied to a bid by anti-Green Democrats who want to challenge some incumbents in the June primary for East Orange city council.
It is not immediately known whether Clark and Saunders are recruiting challengers to Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-Montclair) and Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake.