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The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2020, left to right: Wayne Richardson, Carlos Pomares, Romaine Graham, Leonard Luciano, Tyshammie Cooper, Rufus Johnson, Patricia Sebold, Robert Mercado, and Brendan Gill.

Essex Democrats face primary challenge

By David Wildstein, March 30 2020 4:35 pm

Three progressive candidates filed to run off the line for Essex County freeholder-at-large against four incumbents, including Phil Murphy political advisor Brendan Gill.

Sabre Burroughs, Anthony Diaz and Simone Jelks-Bandison will challenge freeholders Patricia Sebold, Rufus Johnson, Romaine Graham and Gill.

In freeholder district 4, Jennifer Larsen has filed to run against incumbent Leonard Luciano.

A bracketing letter included the names of Whitey Strub in district 1, Myles Sanatpaga in district 2, and Dwight Saunders in district 3, but their petitions were not filed.

No candidate filed against Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin

Sebold, the longest -serving freeholder in Essex County history, will seek re-election to an 11th term.  She won a special election convention in 1993 and has won nine countywide elections, including a 1993 primary win against Sheila Oliver.

Johnson, a former aide to State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark), is seeking his 5th term.  Graham became a freeholder in 2019 following the death of Lebby C. Jones and won a special election last fall.

Wayne Richardson, the freeholder vice president, is seeking his fourth term.  He is the president of Laborers Local 55.

Robert Mercado (District 1), Tyshammie Cooper (District 3) and Carlos Pomares (District 5) will seek second terms. Cooper succeeded Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange) when she took Sheila Oliver’s seat after the 2017 election.

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