Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 15
 
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
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Township Democrats in One Column for June Primary

Matthew Hersh

All three Democratic candidates for Princeton Township Committee will appear in the same ballot column come the June 3 primary elections, but only two will hold the official slogan of the Township Democratic Party, according to a statement sent to Township Democrats this week from Mercer County Democratic Chairman Richard McClellan.

Mr. McClellan ruled that all three candidates vying for the Township governing body this fall, incumbent Deputy Mayor Bernie Miller, Karen C. “Casey” Lambert, and Sue Nemeth, would appear in the same voting column, but that only Mr. Miller and Ms. Nemeth, who were endorsed by the Princeton Township Democratic Committee, would receive the official party label, “Regular Democratic Party.”

While the PTDC held a decisive endorsement vote, none of the candidates met the vote threshold to receive endorsement from the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PTDC), which met the night before PTDC held its own vote. Putting the three candidates in one column with only two bearing the label was the “compromise” reached in deciding ballot positioning, Mr. McClellan said.

“This compromise, which I stress came from the community itself, shares the contributions of the [PTDC] and the PCDO in this issue and I believe it is a rational and fair approach to what holds the potential to become an emotionally charged and irrational -situation,” Mr. -McClellan wrote to Township Democrats, pointing to the PTDC’s ability to override a PCDO endorsement vote. The 500-member PCDO, despite casting 240 endorsement ballots, is basically a club, whereas the PTDC, the official Township municipal party organization consisting of two people for every one of the Township’s 14 voting districts, cast 19 ballots for the endorsement.

Mr. McClellan’s letter, as well as a communication from PCDO President Jenny Crumiller to PCDO members, suggested that many Democrats did not realize PTDC had overriding ability, and had assumed that the Sunday, March 30 PCDO vote could have had an impact on the March 31 PTDC vote. The compromise, Mr. McClellan said, “is, in effect, a reconsideration of the Committee vote taken Monday evening in the light of new facts which were not known at the time.”

Mr. McClellan went on to say that while the county chair of either party determines the order and position of party candidates, both PCDO and PTDC deserved consideration in making his ballot placement decision.

“That I have sought out the participation of the [PTDC] and the PCDO stems from my recognition that both groups are vibrant and relevant to our community and to our party. And, that each represents a valuable viewpoint,” he said.

All three candidates have accepted the ballot compromise, Mr. McClellan said.

———

The road to Princeton Borough Council is clearly mapped out this year, as three seats are up for grabs, without, to date, competition.

Democratic incumbents David Goldfarb and Barbara Trelstad seek election to three-year terms, along with Kevin Wilkes, who was slated to be sworn in as Councilman Tuesday night after Town Topics press time, filling a vacancy created by Councilwoman Wendy Benchley’s March 24 resignation. Mr. Wilkes is then expected to seek a special one-year term in November’s general election.

As of Monday’s Petition filing deadline for candidates for the non-presidential primary elections, no Republicans candidates have surfaced in either the Borough or Township. The petition filing deadline for independent candidates for the general election is June 3, the day of the primary.

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