Home>Campaigns>Claiming local Democrats violated party by-laws, Holley will run off-the-line for Roselle mayor

Jamel Holley. (Photo: Jamel Holley).

Claiming local Democrats violated party by-laws, Holley will run off-the-line for Roselle mayor

Ex-Assemblyman wants his hold job back

By David Wildstein, March 17 2023 12:14 pm

Seeking a return to his old job as mayor of Roselle, Assemblyman Jamel Holley declined to participate in last night’s Democratic screening committee, alleging that the local party violated its bylaws to ensure incumbent Donald Shaw won the organization line.

“I plan to take my candidacy directly to the residents of Roselle, where I know I will receive a fair and honest opportunity to become their next mayor,” Holley said.  “I will never participate in a meeting/screening that violates its own bylaws and fundamental rights and expect that it could be a favorable outcome.

The Roselle Democratic Committee voted unanimously to endorse Shaw as their mayoral candidate. However, Holley suggests the meeting had 19 of 38 county committee members present – precisely enough for a quorum, and that the municipal chairman, Assemblyman Reginald Atkins,  had encouraged proxy voting.

Holley claims a flyer supporting Shaw’s re-election campaign announcement was paid for by the Roselle Democratic Committee and appeared in mailboxes before the actual vote to endorse him.  He says the bylaws prohibit party funds “except upon the approval of a majority of the committee members at a special or regular meeting.”

Holley says proper written notice of the meeting to endorse candidates was also not provided, making it impossible for contenders to submit a letter of intent ten days before the meeting.  Since the letter went out eight days before last night’s meeting, Holley questions how candidates could provide notice of intent within ten days.

“I have always participated in the democratic process since the first time I ran for public office in 2004,” Holley stated.  “In all my years of both organizing or participating in screenings, I have never witnessed this type of mockery.”

Holley said he has “many allies on the Roselle Democratic Committee, and they feel betrayed by the actions of Chairman Atkins and Mayor Shaw in defiling this process.”

Atkins said Shaw “has done an excellent job and deserves the opportunity to build on his success.”

“You could see in that room tonight how unified we are on moving forward, being stronger together,” he said.

Shaw won a special election as mayor in 2020 after Christine Dansereau resigned.

One year earlier, when local Democrats denied Dansereau party support for a second term, she ran off-the-line and defeated Shaw by eight percentage points.

Holley served as mayor from 2012 until winning a special election for State Assembly in 2015.  He gave up his seat to challenge incumbent Joseph Cryan (D-Union) in the Democratic State Senate primary in 2021.  Cryan won by eighteen points.

“I think voters are really going to connect with our message,” Shaw said.  “This is all about bringing the Borough together to move forward.  No more looking back, no more old divisive politics, we’re delivering tangible results, and we’re doing this together.”

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