SOUTH AMBOY—South Amboy Mayor John O’Leary abandoned his candidacy for Assembly in the wake of a series of anonymous allegations and the move has triggered a hot contest for a new replacement on the Democratic ticket.
“I know it was a difficult decision for him, but I think he made the right choice,” said Middlesex County Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Spicuzzo.
The elected members of the Democratic County Committee will pick another replacement for the 19th District Assembly seat to join incumbent Assemblyman John Wisniewski against two GOP challengers.
Dr. Barry Adler, a Woodbridge veterinarian running as an independent candidate in November, is a Democratic committee member who could be selected to replace O’Leary, whose nomination in the June primary was uncontested.
Superior Court Judge Mathias E. Rodriguez, 67, of Perth Amboy, resigned last week amid speculation that he would be selected to replace O’Leary in the district where well over one fifth of the voting population is Hispanic
Wisniewski’s running mate in the last three elections, Assemblyman Joseph Vas, the former mayor of Perth Amboy, decided not to seek re-election following his indictment on federal and state corruption charges.
The 19th District consists of Carteret, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy and Woodbridge and any Democrat who wants to seek the office is eligible to appear before the nominating convention, which has not yet been scheduled.
A convention of the two Democratic district leaders from each of 165 voting precincts in Woodbridge, Carteret, Perth Amboy, Sayreville and South Amboy must meet before September 14 to nominate a new Assembly candidate.
Rodriguez reportedly spoke like a candidate Sunday at Perth Amboy’s Dominican-American festival, but there is speculation that Spicuzzo and Wisniewski may be unable to deliver organization support they promised him because Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac is said to be encouraging Councilman Charles Kenny to run.
Observers say Republicans Richard Piatkowski of Perth Amboy and Peter Kothari of Woodbridge will be unlikely to capitalize on the turmoil because the district is heavily tilted toward Democrats.
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