Union County Commissioner Andrea “Sunshine” Staten will not seek re-election, with Democrats dispelling an unfounded report from Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Roselle) that she was dropped from the ticket.
Staten said the decision to not run again was hers.
“Serving in government has never mattered more, and I am forever honored to have played a role in one of the most challenging times in our history,” said Staten. “After discussing my decision with close family and friends, I’ve decided that now is the time to refocus myself on professional obligations as well as my daughter.”
The comments by Holley angered Roselle Democratic Municipal Chairman Rev. Reginald Atkins, who thought Staten should have been allowed to announce her own retirement.
“For Jamel to try to turn this into something it isn’t just to score points for his campaign is very disappointing. Voters deserve better than that,” Atkins said. “Whether he believes it or not, everything is not about him.”
Holley is mounting a longshot, off the line bid for State Senate against incumbent Joseph Cryan (D-Union) in the Democratic primary.
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), the Union County Democratic Chairman, praised Staten’s service.
“Public service is in Andrea’s core,” Scutari said.
“Andrea has assured me she will remain involved in our organization and supportive towards our efforts to elect Democrats up and down the ballot,” he said.
The leading candidate to replace Staten is longtime Rahway Councilman James E. Baker, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
He would run with incumbents Alexander Mirabella and Kim Palmieri-Mouded.
Mirabella, who is seeking his ninth term. called Staten “a very good commissioner.”
“She’s been a terrific running mate and a trusted friend,” Mirabella said. “I thank her for all the time she has spent working and volunteering on behalf of residents of Union County.”
Staten, a former Roselle councilwoman, won the seat in 2018 after Freeholder Bruce Bergen declined to seek re-election and Democrats dropped Mohamed Jalloh from their ticket.