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Linden mayor denies backing Scutari

By David Wildstein

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead say she is backing Colleen Mahr for Union County Democratic Chairman and denied an earlier report on this website that he had agreed to support State Sen. Nicholas Scutari for the post.  Armstead says he will deliver his Linden votes — which he estimated to be at least eight and probably more — to Mahr.

The mayor confirmed that he had spoken with Scutari last night, and agreed that Scutari had ended the conversation with the impression that he would have Armstead’s support.  Armstead said that he attended another meeting later in the evening and decided it was in his best interests — “to do the right thing” and endorse Mahr.  Armstead told me he would run for Vice Chairman if Mahr wins.

That means Scutari will come out of Linden, where he is municipal chairman, with no more than 64 of the 72 votes; Armstead thinks there are more votes available.

This also means Armstead, a four-term councilman before toppling Richard Gerbounka in 2014, will not have Scutari’s support for re-election — and probably enhances the Scutari organization’s desire to support Councilwoman Rashonna Cosby in the 2018 Democratic mayoral primary.

The original version of this story, which would have been correct had it been printed last night, is included below.

Linden Mayor Derek Armtead is expected to endorse State Sen. Nicholas Scutari for Union County Democratic Chairman, ending an estrangement between the two.  The presumption is that Scutari will later endorse Armstead for re-election as mayor this year.

Armstead reportedly brings eight county committee votes with him, giving Scutari – the Linden Democratic Municipal Chairman – the entire 72-vote Linden delegation.

Linden is the third largest town in Union County, in terms of filled county committee seats.

Armstead spent four terms on the Linden City Council before ousting incumbent Richard Gerbounka in the 2014 mayoral race.  If Scutari does back Armstead’s re-election, it could end the mayoral hopes of Councilwoman Rashonna Cosby, an announced opponent in the 2018 Democratic primary.

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