Facing state corruption charges, Spicuzzo resigns chairmanship

In the aftermath of state corruption charges dropped today, Middlesex County Democratic Organization Chairman (and former county sheriff) Joe Spicuzzo will resign his party chairmanship and Vice-Chair Helen Gottlieb will assume the duties of chairperson.

According to a relase from the embattled organization, the vice-chair is vested by virture of the committee’s bylaws with the authority of the county chair “until the following June, when a County Reorganization Meeting shall be held and an election conducted for the offices of Chair and vice-chair.”

Gottlieb has served as County Democratic Vice-Chair since 1994. She is a New Jersey State Democratic Committeewoman, former Vice-Chair of the Edison Democratic Committee and Middlesex County Co-Chair of the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign.

“I am assuming the role of chairperson under the most unfortunate circumstances,” said Gottlieb. “I will be working closely with party leaders and the Middlesex County Democratic Organization’s staff to ensure a smooth transition through the Democratic conventions and the June primary.”

Sources say Kevin McCabe of Woodbridge, an executive with the New Jersey Carpenters Union, stands poised to run for the vacated seat in June.

Earlier today, PolitickerNJ.com spoke with Freeholder Jim Polos, who last year unsuccessfully challenged Spicuzzo’s candidate, Millie Scott, for the party nomination for sheriff and the right to succeed Spicuzzo. 

A near winner in his joust with Scott and the embodiment of the anti-Spicuzzo wing of the sprawling party organization, Polos today didn’t rule out running for the chairmanship, but didn’t sound as though he was rubbing his hands together and plotting for it, either; all but dismissing the likelihood he would take a shot.

“First of all, I would hope that Joe would step down as chairman,” said Polos of Highland Park, about an hour before the party organization announced the chairman’s departure. “I would embrace an open process, but I am not sure I am interested in pursuing that. I am interested that now whoever that person is, he or she embraces the entire party. This can’t be a party run by a few select individuals. The next chair needs to recognize that.”

He considered McCabe as a successor to Spicuzzo. 

“I think Kevin would be a quaility, viable candidate,” Polos said.

Facing state corruption charges, Spicuzzo resigns chairmanship