Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) appears in a mailer in contentious Plainfield – ground zero for a too-close-to-call Congressional race in the 12th District.
Incumbent Councilwoman Rebecca Williams, an ally of Mayor Adrian Mapp and bitter political enemy of Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22), Sweeney’s legislative ally.
The understory for state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) v. Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) in CD 12, where the latter has the advantage of the county line and a vote spike potential owing to local June 3rd acrimony, Plainfield politics is divided between Green and the party establishment, and Mapp and the New Democrats.
An attempt at power sharing went off the rails as soon as Mapp won election last year.
Now Sweeney is reaching past the top-of-the-ticket dynamics in Union and directly tweaking Williams.
“I need your help,” Sweeney declares to Plainfield voters in the mailer. “It has come to my attention that there is a group calling themselves ‘New Democrats’ who have been attacking our Democratic candidates and the efforts of the Democratic Party in Plainfield.
“Rather than offering substantive solutions, they are making outrageous personal attacks on my good friend, Assemblyman Pro Tempore and Union County Democratic Chairman, Jerry Green. It’s shameful behavior.”
A box accompanying Sweeny’s message reads: “Groups such as ‘New Democrats’ and other Tea Party extremists waste our time with the same attacks every year.”
An incensed Williams responded on her Facebook page.
“I just checked my mail, and there in my mailbox is a slanderous, filthy, and unconscionable flier reproduced by none other than Sen. Majority Leader [sic] Stephen Sweeney, attacking me,” Williams wrote. “He has bought into all the LIES in the latest Jerry Green attack on me–accusing me of all kinds of things. Steve Sweeney should be ashamed of himself. I am, and have always been, a PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT!
“I endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rush Holt before her, and Frank Pallone before him. Everyone knows that. As an African-American woman and a progressive Democrat–one of the founding members of the New Jersey Chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America–I demand an apology from Sen. Sweeney. How dare he!”
Despite Mapp’s and Williams’ endorsement of Watson Coleman, the New Democrats find themselves in a compromised spot when it comes to advocating for the Democratic Primary candidate.
Becasue Watson Coleman occupies the establishment line along with Green’s local candidates, they are reluctant to involve themselves in anything other than the mechanics and messaging of their own local objectives.