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Justin O'Hea.

Progressive slate files in Union County

By David Wildstein, March 30 2020 8:12 pm

A group of progressive activists are running a full slate of county candidates against the Union County Democratic organization in the June 2 primary election.

Sean Smith is challenging county clerk Joanne Rajoppi, former Fanwood councilman Jack Molenaar is taking on sheriff Peter Corvelli, and Justin O’Hea, Hector Meneses, Jr. and Aissa Heath are running for freeholder against incumbents Chris Hudak and Angela Garretson and their running mate, Lourdes Leon.

The five are backed by the NJ Progressive Democrats of Union County and are running under the “Not Me, Us” slogan.

The group is also running municipal candidates in Plainfield, Union, and Elizabeth, where Jared Anthony Pietz is challenging longtime mayor Christian Bollwage.

Union Township Committeeman Joseph Florio faces a primary challenge from progressive Antoinette Dukes.

Florio announced today that he will disclose every contribution to his campaign, not just those over $300 required by law, and that he will forego lawn signs as a step toward adhering to best practices for social distancing.

“Together we are facing unprecedented times and, in working with different groups throughout our community during this crisis, I believe the last thing people want to deal with are ‘politics as usual,’” said Florio.  “Many people have friends and neighbors contracting this virus and are worried about what comes next, so my focus will remain on moving forward with the urgent business of making sure government continues to provide information and services while also implementing best practices to help Township families.  Now is not the time for contentious politics, it is the time for our community to pull together and work as one.”

In Plainfield, David Rutherford and Emily Morgan are running on the progressive slate.

Leon is seeking to replace Angel Estrada, who is not seeking re-election to an eighth term after 21 years on the Board of Freeholders.

Correction: an earlier version of this story said that “the presence of Smith and Molenaar on the ticket could be problematic, since both are officers of a the NJ Progressive Democrats of Union County political action committee.  They might have to choose between remaining with the PAC or running for office.”  Smith an Molenaar resigned from the PAC before filing their petitions.  

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