TRENTON – Linden Councilman Derek Armstead filed a short time ago, setting up a Democratic Primary for mayor, with the winner in a position to run against incumbent independent Mayor Richard Gerbounka.
The local Democratic Committee and Union County Democratic Committee back 5th Ward Councilwoman Rhashonna Cosby-Hurling for mayor, who also filed today, along with her council president candidate, Jorge Alvarez, a Board of Ed member.
“I am proud to endorse the team of Cosby-Hurling and Alvarez,” said Linden Democratic Chairman and Union County Freeholder Christopher Hudak. “Our city has not moved forward in the past 8 years. Taxes have skyrocketed, development is stalled and residents are frustrated.”
Armstead is running with his own council president candidate, Richard Puschel, along with Charlotte Richardson in the 4th Ward and Wesley Silva in the 6th Ward.
The Hudak-backed Cosby-Hurling is bracketed with 8th Ward Councilwoman Michele Yamakaitis and 6th Ward Councilman Robert Sadowski in their bids for re-election. 4th Ward Council Candidate Monty Brooks and 10th Ward Council Candidate Gretchen Hickey also received the organization endorsement in their respective races.
Armstead and Hudak, in conjunction with state Sen. Nick Scutari (D-22), tried to talk out a peace agreement in the lead-up to filing deadline but could not finally hammer out a compromise.
“There was a unwillingness of our Democratic Committee chairman – not an unwillingness – an inability – to bring people together and move this town forward,” Armstead said. “He failed miserably.”
For their part, Hudak’s allies said Armstead’s terms were preposterous.
As part of a countywide insurrection, Armstead will bracket with candidates backed by the Elizabeth Board of Education, who are challenging for local ward seats in Elizabeth and establishment candidates supported by Hudak’s allies, state Sen. Ray Lesniak (d-20) and Mayor Chris Bollwage.