Dunn Challenges Lesniak

UNION COUNTY – Assistant Elizabeth Schools Superintendent Jerome Dunn will challenge state Sen. Ray Lesniak in June’s primary election.

Dunn will be joined on the Democrats for Change line by former Elizabeth Councilman Tony Monteiro and current Elizabeth Councilman Carlos Cedeno, who will challenge incumbents Asm. Joe Cryan and Asw. Annette Quijano, who are running on the Regular Democratic Organization line. The 20th Legislative District includes Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union.


Lesniak, a veteran political power broker, has long been at odds with Monteiro and others associated with the Elizabeth school board.

Democrats for Change are also mounting challenges to the regular organization’s slate of freeholder candidates. School board member Elcy Castillo-Ospina is one of three Elizabeth residents on a ticket that also includes Erna Letemps and Marlene Abitanto.

They will face Freeholders Angel Estrada of Elizabeth and Chris Hudak of Linden as well as retired educator Vernell Wright of Union, who are running on the organization slate.

In the 21st Legislative District, which includes much of western Union County, the regular organization is offering token opposition to Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., Asm. Jon Bramnick and Asw. Nancy Munoz.

The 22nd District, which includes Linden, Rahway, Clark, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Winfield, will see uncontested primaries as well. State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, Asm. Jerry Green and Asw. Linda Stender will seek re-election on the regular organization line.

Several Union County municipalities have contested primaries.

Three contenders filed as candidates in the Democratic primary election for mayor in the Roselle. Incumbent Mayor Garrett Smith is being supported by Rev. James Moore and Benjamin Muhhamed, Democrats seeking nomination for council in the First and Third Wards, respectively.

Former Councilman Joseph O’Halloran is running on the ‘Democrats for Change’ slate, while Councilman Jamel Holley is running on the organization line. (See “Battle In Borough”).

In Linden, Councilman Derek Armstead, who won last year’s nomination for mayor with Democrats for Change, is running on the party line and is facing a challenge from Paul Coates Jr. in his 4th Ward race.

Jacqueline Williams is challenging Councilwoman Michele Yamakaitis in Linden’s 8th Ward, and Archie Strazzella is running against Councilman Rich Puschel in the 10th Ward. Sixth Ward Councilman Robert Sadowski is unopposed in his race.

Plainfield 2nd Ward Councilman Cory Storch is seeking re-election on the New Democrats for Plainfield line. He is being challenged by James “Tony” Rucker, running on the organization line.

Incumbent Councilwoman Vera Greaves has the Regular Democratic Organization line in her bid to be re-elected to the Council at-large, representing the 1st and 4th Wards. She is being challenged by Delois Dameron running on the New Democrats for Plainfield line.

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