County clerk confirms ballot positions for June primary

EAST ORANGE, NJ — Essex County clerk Chris Durkin held the drawing on Friday, April 12, for positions on the Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 4, and incumbent members of the East Orange City Council and the East Orange Democratic Committee snagged Line A.

Board of Education member Vernon Pullins Jr. and 2nd Ward council candidate Brittany Claybrooks, who are running for re-election on the Team Green in 2019 ticket, backed by the East Orange and Essex County Democratic committees, both led by Chairman Leroy Jones, are also on Line A. The majority of the challengers are running together on the East Orange Progressive Democrats ticket on Line B.

Line C includes 2nd Ward candidate Gerald Georges, who is running on the Democrats for Progress ticket. Line D is for the Republican candidates running in the Republican primary, also on Tuesday, June 4.

“The ballot draw was conducted on Friday, April 12,” said Durkin on Tuesday, May 7.

According to Durkin, the ballot positions for all nine candidates running for the five East Orange City Council seats are: 1st Ward Councilwoman Amy Lewis on 5A and Mia Williamson on 5B; Claybrooks on 5A, Khalfani Alleyne on 5B and Georges on 5C; Pullins on 5A and Chiijike Ndukwu on 5B; 4th Ward Councilman Casim Gomez on 5A, Councilwoman Tameika Garrett-Ward on 6A, and Patrick Reid on 6B; 5th Ward Councilman Mustafa Brent at 5A and Royston Allman at 5B.

The East Orange Progressive Democrats ticket was organized by former East Orange Councilwoman and Essex County Freeholder Carol Clark and former East Orange Councilman and city Code Enforcement Director Dwight Saunders, who are both seeking elected positions in the county level of government. Clark is running for the county register of deeds post currently taken by former Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone, while Saunders is running for the seat on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders formerly occupied Freeholder Lebby Jones and currently held by Romaine Graham.

According to Durkin, Clark is running on Line 3B against Juan M. Rivera of the Essex County Democratic Committee on Line 3A. Saunders is running on Line 4B against Greer, who is on Line 4A.

Republicans Adam Kraemer and Kristina Christoforou are running for county register and Jones’ freeholder seat, respectively, on the Essex Republican Party Organization Inc. ticket. Kramer is 3D and Christoforou is 4D.

East Orange Councilwomen Jacqueline Johnson and Quilla Talmadge have already endorsed Claybrooks and Pullins to succeed them in the 2nd and 3rd Wards, respectively. Mayor Ted Green also endorsed the Green Team in 2019 ticket that bears his name, even though he will not be on the ballot until 2021.

“This team put up record-breaking numbers and it shows how serious we are about getting things done. Our goal for this city is progress,” said Green on Monday, March 25. “I am looking forward to working with the Green Team candidates to obtain that goal.”

Saunders and Clark said they had their own goal in mind when they formed the East Orange Progressive Democrat and Essex County Progressive Democrat tickets.

“It’s all about trying to get people to come out and vote and be a part of the process,” said Clark on Monday, Feb. 18, and again on Wednesday, Feb. 27. “When it comes to the incumbents, what have they done? It’s not about what you tell me; it’s about what you do. If people haven’t seen what you said you’ve done, then something is wrong.”

Clark said the East Orange Progressive Democrats and Essex County Progressive Democrats are trying to do the right thing.

“The main thing is people need to have a choice,” said Clark on Monday, Feb. 18. “The seats for elected office have been being selected and there’s really not a whole lot of democratic process going on. What happens is, when you play musical seats the way it’s been happening, you get to put people in place without an election and that person is able to function in that position until the election and it puts a chilling effect on would-be contenders.”