Paul Perez says he’s not making any deals for endorsements in the June 12 runoff election for mayor of Trenton.
“I haven’t had any conversations with anyone,” Perez said today in response to rumors that he was offering positions in his administration to some of the candidates eliminated in last week’s vote. “You can’t be presumptuous in something like this. That would be presumptuous.”
Darren “Freedom” Green, who finished fourth in the May 8 election, is expected to back Perez this week. He told The Trentonian that his support comes with a price and that he expected a post in Perez’s cabinet.
Perez was the top vote-getter in the May 8 election, with Assemblyman Reed Gusciora edging out Deputy Mercer County Clerk Walker Worthy for the second runoff slot. Four years ago, Perez finished second and lost the runoff to Eric Jackson by a 56%-44% margin.
“I didn’t keep my eye on the ball,” Perez said about the 2014 race.
But now Perez sees a contrast between himself and Gusciora in a contest that features a Hispanic Army veteran and businessman against an openly gay, white progressive legislator in a struggling city that has a Black-majority population.
“Reed has no business standing in my way right now,” Perez told the New Jersey Globe. “He should just go back to the House and pass some bills that will help our city.”
Perez cast himself as the outsider in the race against the 12-term assemblyman.
“The city has been neglected by the machine and the establishment for 35 years,” Perez said, referring to a runoff endorsement by Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, who backed Worthy in the May election. “I am a proven executive. I am very qualified.”
Gusciora told the Trentonian that he wasn’t going to make a deal with Green for an endorsement and said that he was free to join the Perez campaign.