IRVINGTON, NJ — According to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, three candidates have turned in their petitions for candidacy for the position of register of deeds and mortgages ahead of the primary election Tuesday, June 4. They are Democrats Carol Clark, a former East Orange councilwoman and county freeholder, and Juan M. Rivera Jr., of Newark and Republican Adrian Kraemer of West Orange.
Freeholder candidates include two Democrats: Freeholder Romaine Graham and Dwight Saunders, a former East Orange councilman and code enforcement director, and Republican Kristina Christoforos of Caldwell.
Rivera and Graham are running together, with the backing of the Essex County Democratic Committee and of their respective local party committees, while Saunders and Clark are running together on the Essex County Progressive Democrats ticket. Kraemer and Christoforos are running on the Essex Republican Party ticket.
“The Progressive Democrats and the Progressive Democratic Movement is resonating with people,” said Clark on Tuesday, April 2. “I think the more that people see and hear about us as progressive Democrats, the more they are going to want to gravitate to us, because of our desire to more inclusive. We’re not afraid to hear other people’s voices and listen to different points of view.”
Clark said she believes voters across Essex County are ready for a positive change for the better from the old Line A Democratic Party style of politics that seem to be run from the top down instead of from the bottom up.
“The Democratic process shouldn’t be autocratic, where you pick who you want and just tell everybody else that you must sit down and be quiet,” said Clark. “That’s why the Progressive Democrats were born and that’s why we exist. We would like the people to decide and not necessarily the party to exclude.”
Clark also dispelled rumors she is only trying to get on the primary ballot because she is “disgruntled.” She said nothing could be further from the truth and anyone who believes otherwise is just blindly following Essex County Democratic Committee politics, instead of making informed decisions.
“The party should let the people decide, because that’s what a primary is,” said Clark. “We’re hopeful that this process is going to be an open and fair process.”
Graham and Rivera are part of the “Line A Democrats” to whom Clark referred. Graham was appointed to fill Lebby Jones’ seat on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders after Jones’ death earlier this year. She was sworn in as Jones’ replacement at the freeholders’ meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Graham previously said she looks forward to winning the seat formerly held by Lebby Jones so she can continue building on the legacy of her predecessor.
“It’s exciting,” said Graham on Thursday, Feb. 21, at East Orange Mayor Ted Green’s annual State of the City Address in East Orange. “Everybody’s on board. Everybody’s excited.”
Kraemer and Christoforos could not be reached for comment about their candidacies by press time this week.