Richard Cohen describes an interesting intra-Democratic Party dispute in Haledon, Passaic County, New Jersey. The principal characters are Domenick Stampone, Haledon’s mayor who is running for re-election, and Dom Fusco, his challenger in the primary. Jerry Volpe, the “rebellious local leader of the Haledon Democratic Committee,” backs Fusco, and John Currie, “the very powerful chairman of the Passaic County Democratic Party,” backs Stampone.
Superior Judge Margaret McVeigh will decide Wednesday who controls the Passaic County Democratic line in Haledon, the small but politically divided borough that is raising a ruckus this primary season. Two opposing slates of candidates for running for mayor and council positions are vying for placement on the regular Democratic line, the coveted top spot on the party’s June primary ballot….
Both slates submitted petitions to run under the regular Democratic line on the June ballot with the party slogan, Passaic County Democratic Organization, Inc. Passaic County Clerk Kristin Corrado gave the line to Fusco because he submitted his petitions one day earlier than Stampone…
Volpe says the Haledon Democratic Committee bylaws give him the “sole authority” to name Haledon municipal candidates to the county line.
The key argument on the other side is here:
Stampone’s attorney, Michael A. Cerone, Jr. argued that the Passaic County Democratic Organization is a non-profit corporation, and that Currie is the head. The slogan that appears on the ballot, Passaic County Democratic Organization, Inc., belongs to him.
I am not as wise as Solomon but this one seems pretty easy to me. If I were the judge, I’d rule that the Democratic voters are the owners of the Democratic party, and no one can run “on the line” until they win the primary. That would serve both of these would-be political bosses right.
The good news, however, is that no one has resorted to fradulent absentee ballots (yet), so Haledon is pretty far from making its way to the top of the controversial New Jersey primaries list.