The voters choose Democratic candidates, not the party

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To the editor:

Princeton prides itself on a fair and open process during the primary election so that it is the voters who choose.

A June 8 article in the Princeton Packet on the winners of the Democratic primary election in Princeton inaccurately states that the two winners had the “backing of the Democratic Party leadership,” and quoted one candidate as saying “it was hard to…have a chance of beating candidates backed by the party…because you don’t have the support of the party apparatus.”

The community should know that neither Jean Durbin, the President of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO), nor Scotia MacRae, the Chair of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee (PDMC), publically endorsed any primary candidate and no primary candidate received funds from either of the two Democratic organizations in Princeton.

In the months leading up to the June 5 primary election, all Democratic candidates received identical support for their campaigns from the Municipal Committee and the PCDO. All candidates who declared their intention to run for the two open seats on Princeton Council were given the same detailed information about how to run, and received the same reminders and updates throughout the process. All were given the same instructions for filing petitions with the Municipal Clerk, and all received the same lists of registered voters in Princeton and address labels of PCDO members. All were instructed about the PCDO endorsement process and the Municipal Committee ballot-placement process. All were given the same opportunity to present their platforms to the Municipal Committee and to participate in the PCDO debate.

The two candidates who received the first and second places on the primary ballot, along with the official Democratic slogan, have been active in both the PCDO and the Municipal Committee, but so were two of the other candidates. Ballot placement was determined by a vote of the elected members of the Municipal Committee who represent every one of the 22 voting districts in Princeton.

It is true that the candidates listed at the top of the Democratic column on the ballot have an advantage, but it is also true, both in Princeton and in Mercer County, that winners of past primary elections have included candidates who did not receive the top slots in the Democratic column.

In short, the two Democratic organizations in Princeton worked assiduously at every stage of the campaign to make sure that all the candidates had the same access to all the information needed to compete for Democratic Party support for the two open seats on council. The final decision was made by the voters of Princeton. Only now will the two winning candidates receive “the support of the party apparatus” as we head toward the general election on November 6.

We thank all of those passionate Democrats who had the courage to run for office, and we congratulate Dwaine Williamson and Eve Niedergang on becoming the Democratic Party nominees for Princeton Council.

Scotia W. MacRae

Chair of the Princeton Municipal Democratic Committee

Jean Durbin

President of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization