Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 14
 
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
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Wilkes Gets Nod From Borough Democrats; Miller, Nemeth Slated for Primary Ballot

Matthew Hersh

Kevin Wilkes, the Maclean Street resident whose last shot at Borough Council was curtailed because he did not meet the Borough’s one-year residency requirements for holding office, appears to be headed for the dais at Borough Hall, having received a nod from Borough Democrats.

Mr. Wilkes, 50, will likely fill the vacancy on Borough Council created by former Councilman Wendy Benchley’s March 24 resignation, and is the chosen Democratic candidate for the general election in November.

The Princeton Borough Democratic Committee met Sunday night to endorse Mr. Wilkes, who will likely fill the vacancy on Borough Council created by former Councilman Wendy Benchley’s March 24 resignation, and is the chosen Democratic candidate for the general election in November.

The Princeton Borough Democratic Committee met Sunday night to endorse Mr. Wilkes, who will be “highly recommended” to fill the Benchley vacancy, said Andrew Koontz, a -Borough Councilman and chair of the PBDC. Council will choose from three possible candidates for the vacancy, including Mr. Wilkes, Anton Lahnston, and Craig Provorny. Mr. Lahnston and Mr. Provorny, despite volunteering their names for consideration, are not considered serious threats to Mr. Wilkes’s candidacy.

Borough Council was expected Tuesday night to accept the PBDC findings after Town Topics press time. Council is now expected to install Mr. Wilkes on Council on April 8.

In the Township, what appeared to be the makings of a messy primary season has calmed down, with the Princeton Township Democratic Committee decisively selecting incumbent Deputy Mayor Bernie Miller and newcomer Sue Nemeth as its candidates for two available seats on Township Committee. Out of 19 ballots cast at the PTDC session Monday night, Mr. Miller received 15 votes, or 79 percent, Ms. Nemeth received 13 votes, or 68 percent, and Karen C. “Casey” Lambert received five votes, or 26 percent.

Ms. Lambert and Ms. Nemeth had supported each other’s candidacies.

The recommendations from the PBDC and PTDC essentially translate into favorable ballot positioning in the June primary. The PTDC has a 50 percent threshold for endorsement. As Mr. Miller and Ms. Nemeth exceeded the 50 percent threshold, the PTDC recommendation to the Mercer County Democratic Chairman Richard McClellan is to have both candidates appear in the main Democratic column, with the official party slogan. If Ms. Lambert chooses to run in the primary, she will likely be in a separate column with no slogan.

Both PTDC and PBDC votes came following the Princeton Community Democratic Organization’s Sunday vote, where neither Mr. Miller, Ms. Nemeth, or Ms. Lambert received outright endorsement, as none met the 60 percent support in their home municipality, or the requisite 50 percent from both Princetons. In that vote, with 240 ballots cast, Mr. Miller secured 110 Township votes and 26 Borough votes, Ms. Nemeth had 98 in the Township and 30 in the Borough, and Ms. Lambert had 89 in the Township and 30 in the Borough.

Ms. Lambert’s strong showing with Borough voters appears to be due to the residual impact of a Borough-oriented movement to unseat Mr. Miller, thereby installing Ms. Lambert and Ms. Nemeth on Township Committee, potentially creating enough votes on Committee to unseat Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand. Every year, the five-member Committee chooses one of its own to serve a one-year mayoral term. Ms. Marchand has received unanimous Committee support for 11 straight terms.

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