Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp is the clear front runner to fill the 22nd district State Assembly seat left vacant Wednesday night by the death of fourteen-term incumbent Jerry Green.
Sometime within the next month, Democratic County Committee members from the district, which includes part of Union County and two towns each from Middlesex and Somerset counties, will meet to elect an interim member of the State Assembly. Because the filing deadline for the June primary has passed, county committee members from both parties will need to pick a candidate to run in a November special election for the remaining fourteen months of Green’s term.
The bottom line is that Green’s Assembly seat will go to a Democrat from Plainfield. Union County Democratic insiders acknowledge that Plainfield, the largest city in the district, has a clear claim to the seat.
Likely, Mapp will pick the next Assemblyman – either himself – or someone else, in consultation with State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), the Union County Democratic Chairman. Mapp and Scutari are allies; Mapp, who is also the Plainfield Democratic Municipal Chairman, endorsed Scutari for county chairman the day he entered the race and delivered 40 of 62 votes for him in his campaign against Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr.
Mapp is well-positioned to pick his own successor as mayor. One potential candidate is Union County Freeholder Linda Carter, although it’s not clear if Carter wants the job. If does become mayor, the full Union County Democratic Committee would vote in a special election convention to pick a new freeholder. There would also be a special election in November to fill the remaining fourteen months of Carter’s term. Again, county committee members of both parties would select the general election nominee.
Carter is the only freeholder from Plainfield, and it is widely expected that the city would keep the seat. In January, there had been speculation that Amelia Mapp, the wife of the mayor, might emerge as a freeholder candidate if Carter becomes mayor.
Carter – or any candidate replacing Mapp as mayor – would need to run in a November special election for the remaining 38 months of Mapp’s term. That’s to Mapp’s advantage, since the Plainfield Democratic County Committee – which he controls – would pick the general election candidate.