Two incumbents thrown off the ballot in the June Democratic primary in Roselle are hoping political rivals will drop their bid to keep them out of the race – for the good of the party.
Municipal clerk Lydia Massey rejected petitions for mayor Christine Dansereau and councilwoman Denise Wilkerson, saying that since the two incumbents were running for different offices, they should not have filed a joint petition. Mayors run for four-year terms and council candidates for terms of three years.
“While we are confident that we will prevail in Chairman Scutari’s frivolous challenge to our candidacy, we are very concerned about Chairman (Nicholas) Scutari spending the time, effort and our Democratic Party’s money in trying to toss Democrats off the June Primary ballot when he should be concentrating on getting Democrats elected in November,” Dansereau and Wilkerson said in a statement released today.
The decision to drop the challenge is not Scutari’s call to make, since Massey made the decision to invalidate the nominating petitions.
In a brief submitted to the court, Massey’s attorney argued that “there is no statutory authority permitting primary candidates running for separate offices to submit a singular joint petition” and argued that even if the candidates could do that, the petition did not state which specific office each of the candidates were seeking.”
Superior Court Judge Mark P. Ciarrocca has not yet issued a ruling.
The Roselle Democratic organization is backing Donald Shaw, State Sen. Nick Scutari’s mayoral candidate, and his slate of council candidates over Dansereau and Archange Antoine, who has the support of Linden Mayor Derek Armstead.
“Chairman Scutari should drop this challenge today, stop the heavy-handed politics, and let the Democrats in Roselle and other towns in Union County choose their leaders,” the incumbents said.