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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cloudy future for Mercer County Board of Freeholders

Mercer County’s Board of Freeholders will likely have high turnover this year, with the pending March selection of a replacement for departing Freeholder Elizabeth Muoio to be followed with an open convention in which many Democratic candidates will be vying for the party nod for the seats of freeholders Tony Mack and Lucy Walter, which are said to be vulnerable.

John Cimino - the son of former Assemblyman and Department of Personnel Commission Anthony “Skip” Cimino – already announced his candidacy for a freeholder seat, along with Princeton Borough Councilman Andrew Koontz, and local labor leader Mike Maloney.

Trenton activist and entrepreneur Alysia Welch-Chester – the wife of Trenton’s West Ward City Council candidate Zachary Chester – is also expected to announce her candidacy in the next few weeks. Ms. Welch-Chester has been active in Trenton civic and business circles, and was instrumental in getting the city’s pay-to-play ordinance passed, despite opposition from Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and his allies on City Council.

Of the incumbent freeholders, Mr. Mack’s seat is apparently the most vulnerable, because of public clashes with Mayor Palmer, who remains one of Mercer County’s stronger party figures, especially after the former Hamilton Mayor Glen D. Gilmore’s loss in the 2007 election.

Mr. Mack ran against Mayor Palmer for the mayor of Trenton position in the contentious 2006 election, which resulted in court action because of alleged voter fraud on the part of Mayor Palmer. Mr. Mack lost the suit, and officially conceded that election this week.

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