June 09, 2005

County Primary: Power and Principles in Plainfield

In Union, Schundler beat Forrester by one point. Forrester had the GOP organization line.

Here's the link for the full numbers in all Union Co. races.

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In Plainfield, incumbent Al McWilliams lost his bid against the Democratic machine for a third term as mayor.

This race was fun to follow because McWilliams, a Democrat, had fallen out of grace with the county machine. For two years he power struggled with the party's Plainfield boss, Assm. Jerry Green (D-22).

As mayor, McWilliams ran his own Democratic slates against the Green picks and successfully packed his city council, the school board, and then the city Democratic organization with his own New Democrats.

But then in April, the county party dropped McWilliams from their executive board and gave their chairman, Charlotte DeFilippo, not McWilliams, the right to choose the party candidates in Plainfield.

As with anyone who challenges Charlotte The Hippo, it was easy to feel sorry for McWilliams. In a typical smear, Charlotte implied McWilliams was white and a Republican, even though he is in fact black and a Democrat. (Charlotte, meanwhile, is white and an old fat ho.)

Without the party line, McWilliams lost to an un-stellar contender - Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

One of her quotables: "I don't want to put anything out until I have full disclosure on the issues that I am researching," she said in response to a Ledger question about why she was running.

So it clearly wasn't the numbers on the SATs that made her Ms. Mayor, but the numbers on the checks.

The machine raised over $130,000 - a 3 to 1 advantage over maverick McWilliams.

Was McWilliams' loss a loss for good government?

Not necessarily. The ex-mayor's self-proclaimed fight against "bossism" notwithstanding, this electoral fight was less about principles against corruption and more a pissing match between McWilliams and Assm. Green, two men who both want to be the big boy in town.

McWilliams had little problem with the "bosses" until they left him out of their reindeer games.

As bad as the machine may be, the alternative isn't always better.