Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson has ruled that tonight’s election for Mercer County Democratic Chair by telephone may go on.
Jacobson said that allowing the vote to go on would not cause irreparable harm.
“I’m not comfortable finding a likelihood of success on the merits, in light of the governor’s powers,” Jacobson said. “It’s clear from the by-laws that the Democratic Committee of Mercer County did embrace the statute.”
She said the election follows the spirit of the statute “in light of the mail-in election.”
The by-laws give powers and responsibility to the existing chair,” Jacobson said. “It’s a very truncated schedule, but that’s the schedule that’s in the by-laws.”
The contest between incumbent Janice Mironov and challenging David Schroth is set to begin at 6 PM.
Angelo Genova, an attorney for two Ewing Democratic county committee members supporting Schroth, filed a lawsuit late Monday seeking to halt the vote.
Genova maintained that the change from in-person voting to a “tele-town hall” system violates the county Democratic by-laws. He also said the election should have been held on July 14 and the change in date also necessitates a rule change.
Jacobson said that she views the intent of the election by telephone was appropriate.
“In a virtual setting, you attempt to do the best you can,” Jacobson said.
Mironov has said she was bound be state regulation: Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order delaying party leadership elections until after the certification of the primary election.
Her attorneys, Jarrid Kantor and Daniel Antonelli, said that Mironov followed the by-laws.
Schroth entered the race to challenge Mironov less than two weeks ago.
In a bid to avoid a vote, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes had called for a postponement of a county chair election until June 2021.
Mironov responded by releasing endorsements from a majority of the county’s elected officials. She has the backing of all seven Mercer County freeholders, Sheriff Jack Kemler, State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro), and five democratic assemblymen.
She also has the backing of Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, and top Democrats in Hamilton, Lawrence Township, Hopewell Township, Hightstown, Ewing and East Windsor, Pennington and Robbinsville.
In addition to Hughes, Schroth has the support of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann, Hopewell Borough Mayor Paul Anzano, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton).