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State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrenceville)

Turner warns Mercer spat could leave lasting rift

Mironov re-elected county chair Tuesday after challenge from Ewing councilman

By Nikita Biryukov, July 31 2020 11:46 am

State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence) said a recent schism between Mercer County Democratic Chairwoman Janice Mironov and Democrats in and around Trenton could leave a lasting rift in the county.

“Well, probably, unless she changes her philosophy in terms of bringing everybody under the tent and not alienating segments of the population,” Turner said when asked about sentiments in the county following Mironov’s re-election to the county chair post.

Earlier this week, Mironov waved off a challenge from David Schroth, defeating the Ewing councilman 261 to 115, 69%-31%.

The fight began over Mironov’s belief that Trenton was receiving too much of the county organization’s attention and resources amid shrinking voter turnout there.

Some of the county’s top Democrats — including Turner, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and County Executive Brian Hughes — backed Schroth over the incumbent, though the chairwoman had the backing of most of the county’s legislators and all seven of Mercer’s freeholders.

Though the two are still speaking, the relationship between Mironov and Turner has taken on some frost.

“We have a speaking relationship, but I don’t speak to her regularly,” Turner said. “I don’t think she reaches out that much.”

Turner, Mercer County’s longest-serving senator, also raised concerns about this week’s vote.

Tuesday’s digital convention saw results delayed for hours because of technical issues, with results not coming until after 10 p.m.

“Nobody knew exactly where the transparency was and the accountability and the integrity of the system, and that was never explained to the Mercer County Democratic Committee members,” Turner said. “There was no way of knowing if the results were correct because nobody from the opposing camp had privy to any information, and then they had complaints from people who said they couldn’t get into vote even when they were registered and bonafide committee members.”

Hughes had pushed to delay the reorganization until next year, citing concerns about members’ ability to vote amid the COVID-19 crisis. Under that plan, the incumbent’s term would have been extended by a year

Mironov responded to that attempt by releasing a list of supporters’ names.

After that, attorneys representing members of the two Ewing Democratic Municipal Committee members launched a suit seeking to force Mironov to cancel the reorganization, though a judge later ruled that the election could go on as planned.

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