Signaling a rift between the Princeton area Democratic party and a prominent Township Democrat once seeking to fill a vacancy on Township Committee, Scott Carver of Dempsey Avenue has taken his name out of the running for consideration, thereby suggesting possible internecine strife among area Democrats.
Mr. Carver's announcement came less than 18 hours after the Princeton Township Democratic Municipal Committee (PTDC) decided to roundly endorse Chad Goerner of Bayard Lane for a spot in the June primary elections. Mr. Goerner's unanimous endorsement by the PTDC directly followed a 13-5 vote recommending him to fill the immediate vacancy on Township Committee, created three weeks ago when Committeeman Bill Hearon announced his resignation in the face of increased occupational duties.
Despite the Princeton Community Democratic Organization's (PCDO) failure Sunday night to produce a primary endorsement for the lone available seat on Township's governing body this November, Mr. Goerner's selection by the PTDC as the endorsed candidate for election in the June primary to run as the Democratic Party came as somewhat of a surprise, since Mr. Carver, well known in Township Democratic circles, had been the former chair of the PCDO.
By law, the PTDC must provide Township Committee with three names for consideration to fill Mr. Hearon's vacancy. It is likely that Mr. Carver's name will be replaced with Robert Ross of Stockton Street. Toshi Abe (pronounced AH-bay) is the third name Township Committee will consider when it convenes next Monday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.
In a statement released Tuesday, Mr. Carver cited "deep differences in the philosophy" of what he called a "new generation" of leadership in the PCDO and the PTDC. He specifically referred to the PCDO leadership of Jenny Crumiller, who succeeded Mr. Carver's post in January, and Dan Preston, PTDC chair.
"After going through the process this past week of participating in a Candidate's Forum moderated by Princeton Future's Sheldon Sturges, and a review by the Democratic Municipal Committee, it became obvious to me that I do not share the same philosophy as these two groups, and do not want to be a candidate put forth by the Democratic Municipal Committee at this time," Mr. Carver's statement read.
Mr. Carver was not available for further comment, but did seem to indicate that party leadership was pushing personal agenda, and that those views do not necessarily reflect those of Princeton Democrats.
Mr. Goerner, who responded to Mr. Carver's words only hours after learning the candidate had abandoned his pursuit of the open spot on Committee and possibly a primary run, said he was "confused about the philosophical differences" outlined by Mr. Carver and added that he felt the issues that have been raised in this brief campaign were relevant to the concerns of Township residents.
"The issues of social progressivism, fiscal conservatism, and encouraging grassroots debate and discussion are fundamental to the Democratic party," Mr. Goerner said.
Mr. Carver expressed little surprise in the PTDC endorsement, because, he said, Mr. Goerner "embodies the spirit of the new leadership," adding that Mr. Goerner used phrasing from the Howard Dean-inspired Democracy for America website. Mr. Carver, in his statement, described himself as a "moderate Democrat."
On a potential run for a full three-year term on Committee, Mr. Carver left the question open-ended, saying he has not ruled out all options.
Mr. Preston, PTDC chair, said the current stance held by a majority of Township Democrats are those "shared by Democrats everywhere.
"I'm not sure what part of that philosophy that Scott has an issue with; we were very glad that he was involved in the process."
If Mr. Ross is chosen to replace Mr. Carver for vacancy consideration by Township Committee, he, Mr. Goerner, and Mr. Abe will presumably work in the coming days to shore up votes with the individual members of Township Committee.
However, Mr. Goerner's party support does not necessarily guarantee an appointment by Committee.
Mr. Preston, chair of the PTDC, would not comment as to why the PTDC members voted as they did in the closed session vote Monday, but said that each candidate had about 15 minutes to address the 18-member body, followed by a question-and-answer session. "It was a very healthy, open debate and we thought that all the issue were aired," Mr. Preston said, but added that at the end of the day, Mr. Goerner "stood out in a very clear way."
If Mr. Goerner, 30, were appointed to Committee, he would be among the youngest ever to serve on the Township's governing body.
Despite closing the voting gap in the 2005 general elections on a platform based on fiscal reform, Township Republicans have yet to produce a candidate for the general election in November; however, it is likely a candidate will surface in the coming weeks.
The deadline for a prospective candidate to file a petition with Mercer County is April 10.
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