LINDEN — Third Ward Councilman Peter A. Brown says he is going to run for Mayor, a move some suggest could split the African-American vote that helped Fourth Ward Councilman Derek Armstead capture the Democratic nomination in 2010.
Armstead has declared his intent to run again but according to message posted on Brown’s Facebook Page, ”Yes. The rumors are true. I am going to run for Mayor.”
Brown joins several other Democrats believed to be eyeing the nomination to compete with incumbent Richard Gerbounka, who has not decided if he will seek a third term, as well as any Republican who files for election.
Former school board president Bryan T. Tomko is believed to be the organization choice for the nomination and Elizabeth school administrator Carmen Southward is also rumored to be weighing a candidacy.
“Peter Brown running so that Derek Armstead will have a tougher time winning the Democratic Primary, as he did in 2010,” said one tendentious observer, who asked not to be identified.”Political insiders are introducing Brian Tomko as the organization choice for the nomination to compete with the independent incumbent, Rich Gerbounka.”
Southward came within 40 votes of winning a seat on the school board on April 27, 2011 and she received 12,194 votes in the June 8, 2010 Democratic Primary Election for county freeholder, in which the top vote-getter received 13,601 ballots.
Armstead won the 2010 Democratic nomination for mayor with a total of more than 2,031 Democratic primary ballots, overwhelming then-Council President Robert Bunk, who received 1,761 votes. Running in the 2008 primary, Armstead was re-elected with more than 1,000 votes.
Tomko, the president of Fig Leaf Insurance Agency and a business partner of Freeholder Chris Hudak, earned 1,192 votes the last time his name appeared on a ballot, in the April 15, 2008 Board of Education election.
Brown, who was twice elected by small margins of victory within the Third Ward, has demonstrated little citywide political appeal. In the 2007 Board of Education election, Brown earned only 364 votes — landing dead last among a field of eight contenders.
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