Union County Democratic Chairman Jerry Green announced on Thursday that he is terminating his support for embattled state Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-22).
“Based on all of the information that has been put in front of me, I am not going to force, demand or threaten Linda Stender to resign, based upon the fact that she feels that she’s innocent. Moving forward, I will not be supporting her for reelection to the state Assembly in the 22nd Legislative District,” Green, who is also an Assemblyman in LD 22, said.
Stender has faced a flurry of questions over the past several days stemming from her husband seeking help from the non-profit group Habitat for Humanity in rebuilding a nearly half a million dollar shore home badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
PolitickerNJ reported that Stender was expected to hand in a letter stating that she will not seek reelection to Union County Democratic Chairman Jerry Green sometime on Wednesday.
Stender has yet to hand in any such letter as of Thursday afternoon, according to a source, which was confirmed by Green.
“I was hoping to get a letter, so she would have been able to tell me how she felt and what’s going on. When after the last 48 hours I didn’t receive that letter, I felt that it was time to move on,” Green said. “If I would’ve received that letter, then that would’ve given me the opportunity to see what she was going to do about seeking reelection. Since I did not get that letter, I had to take it upon myself to take a position on that issue.”
Green clarified further why he officially withdrew his political support for Stender.
“It’s obvious that this thing is headed to the courts. I would like to be in a position where the Union County Democratic Party as well as I myself personally would not have to get involved,” Green said. “The non-profit organization [Habitat for Humanity] claims that they are owed money. We have different law enforcement agencies looking at this whole particular issue. I see this thing as getting uglier before it gets better.”
Green indicated that he is in the process of contacting the 20 Union County municipal Democratic chairs about what lies ahead in LD 22.
“There is a probability that there will be a June primary, if somebody decides that they want to challenge the organization’s candidate,” Green said, adding that he is trying to organize a screening meeting for potential candidates to take place sometime next week.
Sources have told PolitickerNJ that Green is supporting Jim Kennedy, a lobbyist who was Rahway’s mayor from 1991 to 2011, to supplant Stender on the line. But Green said that he has spoken to more than one potential LD 22 Democratic Assembly candidate.
“Have I been speaking to [Kennedy]? Yes, I have. Have I been speaking to [Fanwood Mayor] Colleen Mahr? Yes, I have,” Green said. “I’m not going to publicly support anyone until I speak to all of my chairmen.”
Green seemed to throw up his hands regarding Stender.
“Unfortunately, Linda Stender feels that she’s innocent, and I have to take that into consideration,” Green said. “Based on the information that I’ve received, it’s obvious that the issue is not going to go away and that I have to make a decision so that things don’t roll out of control. I’ve chosen to go into another direction that will not include Linda Stender.”