As Dems shuffle 27th District slate, critics call it shenanigans

When incumbent state Sen. Dick Codey (D-Essex) opted not to seek reelection weeks after winning the Democratic Party primary, a backroom scramble created a new slate of Democrats to run for seats in the redrawn 27th Legislative District.

“It’s a mockery of democracy. We deserve better. The voters of the 27th District deserve better,” said Henal Patel of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “We had voters who voted for a slate of candidates just two months ago and all of them are being replaced. Not a single candidate that was elected for the position they were supposed to be running in is on that ballot for that role,” Patel said. “There are a handful of people deciding these things, and the rest of us only know about it because the media is reporting it, from leaks from the inner circle.”

Here’s how it started: Democratic primary voters in the 27th District elected a slate of candidates to run for legislative seats — incumbent Richard Codey for Senate, incumbent John McKeon for Assembly partnered with newcomer Alixon Collazos-Gill. After Codey decided to resign, the Democratic machine reshuffled the ballot. Here’s how it’s probably going to look in November: John McKeon for Senate, Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill to replace his wife Alixon Collazos-Gill as Assembly candidate, probably alongside Livingston Councilwoman Rosaura Bagolie, sources say.

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