RAHWAY — The Democratic candidates for mayor have even odds in Tuesday’s primary. It’s a rough-and-tumble contest that pits a 32-year political insider against a longtime volunteer who never before sought election but appears to hold the lead.
Richard Proctor is a dual-job holding county freeholder and the $170,000 city health director. His opponent, Renee Thrash, was selected by Mayor James Kennedy to run the city Housing Authority in an unpaid capacity. She also worked in the police department and as administrator of the central business district.
Throughout most of the campaign, Proctor scorned his foe, saying Thrash was “unqualified.” As the challenger, who is running with Column B Democrats for Change, proposed a $95,000 salary cap for city workers and specific plans to reduce crime, stabilize taxes and address other shortcomings in the city, her support blossomed.
Joining Proctor on the ballot are three incumbent councilmen, each with 20 years experience. Thrash recruited three nurses, Dr. Yvonne Wesley, author Lynn Parker and Grace Jacquet.
If elected, Proctor plans to retire as freeholder and health director so he can collect both a $70,000 paycheck as mayor in addition to a $120,000 pension. Proctor is running with the regular political organization.
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