Election rumblings: Reed in the Lead; Walker Plays TTF Blame Game; Perez For Mayor Hosts Two Weekend Events

REED IN THE LEAD

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who likely poses the biggest challenge to de-facto frontrunner Paul Perez in the upcoming mayoral election, scored a big pre-election day win drawing the top spot on the May ballot. The ballot order was determined in a random drawing by City Clerk Dwayne Harris. The remaining order was as follows: 2014 third-place finisher Walker Worthy, community activist Darren “Freedom” Green, 2014 runner-up Paul Perez, former councilwoman past mayoral candidate Annette Lartigue, councilman Duncan Harrison and councilman Alex Bethea. Election Day is May 8.

PEREZ FOR MAYOR HOSTS TWO WEEKEND EVENT

Two events this weekend will give residents an opportunity to learn more about Trenton Mayoral candidate Paul Perez. This Friday night, (March 16th) from 6-10 p.m., a fundraising Cabaret will be held at the Historic Trenton Masonic Temple on 100 Barrack Street. Contribution is $25 per person. Tickets may be secured at the door or in advance by calling (609) 498-0568. The Friday night Cabaret will be followed with this Saturday’s (March 17th) Grand Opening Kick Off Party of the Perez Campaign Headquarters at 155 North Broad Street from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event is free and light refreshments will be served

WORTHY PLAYS TTF BLAME GAME

The man formerly known as the “Democrat for the People” is calling out sitting Mayor Eric Jackson and “chief enablers,” mayoral candidates Alex Bethea and Duncan Harrison, for the “continuing scandal” that resulted in Trenton missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid.

Ironically – and hypocritically in the view of one of his opponents – mayoral candidate Walker Worthy blamed the lame-duck city leader and councilmen Bethea and Harrison for the Transportation Trust Fund “debacle” while advocating for city leaders to “take responsibility or correct the situation” rather than shifting blame to principal engineer Hoggarth Stephen for the funding blunder.

“While city officials continue to point fingers and try to dodge blame for the embarrassing failure that led to Trenton missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid, I have one simple question for Mayor Jackson and his chief enablers on the City Council, Duncan Harrison and Alex Bethea: Haven’t Trenton taxpayers had enough incompetence and mismanagement?” Worthy said in a statement issued in response to a Trentonian article that uncovered how Stephen’s name doesn’t appear on municipal aid applications the city submitted to the state Department of Transportation for three of the past five years.

The mayor went on television and promised a city worker he didn’t name would be disciplined for the “debacle” that led to Trenton missing out on a slice of $161 million for road improvement projects

Stephen told The Trentonian he was being scapegoated and documents showed Mayor Jackson and public works director Merkle Cherry knew about past municipal aid applications.

Jackson’s spokesman dismissed Worthy’s TTF allegations as “nonsense.”

Harrison’s camp pointed out Worthy was playing the same “blame game” he faulted Jackson and his opponents for engaging in

“It is sad that Mr. Worthy stooped so low to name calling when what we need are bold ideas to move our city forward,” Harrison’s campaign manager Mark Matzen said. “It’s a sign of a desperate campaign that seems to be going nowhere.”

Bethea didn’t respond to messages left with him.

Worthy, who remarked during his mayoral announcement that he wasn’t the “county puppet” for the string-pulling kingmaker Executive Brian Hughes, hinted Bethea and Harrison were yes-men for Jackson during their tenures on City Council

Worthy offered no support for his position the councilmen are somehow at fault for the TTF blunder

Bethea actually asked the administration to submit a late application along with a letter petitioning Gov. Phil Murphy to try to recoup some of the funds

Harrison’s name hadn’t come up in relation to the TTF debacle prior to being put in the crosshairs by Worthy.

Reed Gusciora