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Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr (Photo: Borough of Fanwood.)

Speculation that Mahr will challenge Scutari for county chair

Hillside Democratic chairman who backed Mahr in ’18 endorses Scutari; some election certifications delayed until Friday

By David Wildstein, June 06 2019 5:16 pm

Colleen Mahr is strongly considering a challenge to Union County Democratic chair Nicholas Scutari next week, some of her supporters told the New Jersey Globe.

The vote is set for Tuesday evening in Union, when the party holds its biannual reorganization meeting, and could be a rematch of a February 2018 special election where Scutari defeated Mahr by a 412 to 341 vote.

The Globe reached Mahr briefly at 3:22 PM, but she was not able to answer questions.  She did not immediately respond to a second call at 5:09 PM today.

Mahr allies were set to discuss the county chairman’s race this afternoon.

Hillside Democratic Municipal Chairman Anthony Salters told the Globe today that he had endorsed Scutari for re-election, a move that is expected to bring 22 to 24 or Hillside’s 26 votes to the incumbent.  Salters had endorsed Mahr in 2018 and she carried his town 14-7.

Allies of both sides claim to have made gains in county committee races across Union County, and final results in several close races are still not determined.

“Due to the 48 hour law allowing vote by mails to be accepted and counted two days following an election, County Committee results will be delayed,” said Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi. “It is anticipated they will be available by Friday.

Scutari appears to have lost his bid for re-election as the Linden Democratic municipal chairman after losing a majority of seats in Tuesday’s primary election to allies of his political rival, Mayor Derek Armstead.  Unofficial tallies give Armstead a 40-32 majority.  In the last county chair election, Scutari won Linden 50-20.

State Sen. Joseph Cryan, the Union Township Democratic municipal chairman, appears to have lost sixteen county committee seats, which would reduce his control to 84-16.  Union delivered a 93-0 margin to Mahr last year.

It looks like Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp, a Scutari backer and the Democratic municipal chairman, picked up seats this week.  Scutari won Plainfield 40-22 against Mahr.

Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski is reportedly making calls to run for municipal chair in Cranford.  Kowalski is a close Scutari ally, but so is the incumbent, John Salerno.

The county Democratic organization appears to have picked up seats in Cranford, which split 23-23 in the last Scutari vs. Mahr race.

Mahr, the mayor of Fanwood, also picked up a seat in her hometown.

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