Some Democrats on the Cranbury Township Committee this week signaled their preference for Democrat Michael J. Ferrante to replace Democrat David Cook, who resigned from the governing body earlier this month.
Ferrante is a former member of the Cranbury Township School District Board of Education.
By state law, Democrats had to forward the names of three members of the party to the governing body for consideration as a replacement for Cook. Democrats submitted the names of Ferrante, David Nissen and John Hughes. The person selected will serve the rest of Cook’s term, which ends in December.
Committee members are expected to name the panel’s new member during their meeting on April 23 and to immediately swear that individual into office.
Democratic Committeeman Matthew Scott said on April 17 that Ferrante would bring a “good, strong progressive voice” to township government.
Democratic Committeeman James Taylor said his support is “most likely going to go to Mike. I think Mike will do a fine job. He’s somebody who is easy to get along with. That’s important. You need a Township Committee where everybody respects each other and works together and collaborates because a lot of what we do is negotiation to come up with something we can all live with.”
The committee finds itself with a vacancy because Cook, during his ninth year in office, resigned because he said he plans to spend time with his fiancé, who lives in Arizona. He said he did not believe he could make the time commitment to continue serving the community.
“I think what we really need to do is have that item come up on the agenda and have a discussion, but obviously it would be a decision all of us would make, including (Committeeman) Dan Mulligan,” said Mayor Glenn Johnson, who chairs the Cranbury Democratic Party.
“We’ll do what we think is best. I can’t really commit to one individual at this point, but I think, with a relatively short discussion, we’ll probably come to a consensus,” the mayor said.
Mulligan, the lone Republican on the governing body, said on April 17 that no one had asked him for his views on whom he would support to fill Cook’s seat. He called himself “undecided.”
“My assumption is that, hopefully, I get to ask some questions before we take a vote at the meeting,” Mulligan said. “I’m not even real clear on the process, to be quite frank. I’ve only been told what I’ve been told, which is (the Democrats) get to choose candidates and then I’m supposed to show up and vote for somebody, apparently.”
Taylor and Ferrante will be running mates in the November election against Republicans Nancy Witt and Wayne Wittman.
“My sense is I think Mike is probably the guy,” Taylor said of next week’s vote. “If nothing else, I think it’s kind of hard to have somebody running for office and then appoint somebody else on the Township Committee.”
“I don’t want to be presumptive,” Ferrante said on April 17 when asked if it looked like he would be chosen to fill the vacant seat. “But I think the assumption is that because I’m on the ballot in November, that would give the most continuity.”
Nissen and Hughes could not be reached for comment on April 17.