Is Dunkins even legally eligible to run?

On the Save Jersey Blog:

Looks like we got a Carl Lewis type situation in Cumberland County, folks.

Republicans have a shot at taking all the Freeholder seats in Cumberland County this November. So Democrats are scrambling to come up with a way to hold onto them. And in their desperation, they made an illegal move.

If you remember, Senator Jeff Van Drew ally Lou Magazzu resigned in disgrace from the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders after getting caught sexting while married (if you’re sleeping with someone, Save Jerseyans, don’t send pics to them. Get them to send pics to you!). His seat, as required by law, is up for election on November 8, and by law, since the election is to fill a vacancy, the winner will be sworn in November 9, not in January.

So, after a shady, not by the rules selection process, Democrats selected James Dunkins to run for the vacated seat. Only problem is, James Dunkins is currently a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. His term expires Dec 31, 2011. Which means if he won, he would have to immediately be sworn in, and he’d have two seats on the Board. This is obviously highly illegal.

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3 Responses to Is Dunkins even legally eligible to run?

  1. Calhoun says:

    Carl has other posts (I have commented previously) on this and he and I have also discussed it a couple of times. My previous position was that Dunkins shouldn’t do this, but that he would avoid a legal problem (if he wins this election) by resigning his current seat before being sworn into his new (Magazzu’s old) seat.

    Now I am not so sure. And here’s why.

    This election may be shaping up to be a good year for the Rs. They have some mojo going in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd state legislative districts, and, while I am not saying they are going to sweep in these districts, some pick-ups look possible. Senator Whelan looks to be in trouble and Van Drew is even sweating (God I hope he loses; keep those milk carton ads coming). In Cumberland Co., the Ds are also in a bit of a mess due in part to the fat vacuum created by Magazzu’s demise.

    So a good year to be an R — a rarity in Cumberland County.

    Now let’s say your one of the R freeholders (Sheppard, Fiocchi, Kirstein) and you determine that rather than wait to be re-elected when your term expires, you choose to run this year when it looks like the Rs are on a roll. By being elected now you extend your term out and prevent having to run in a subsequent year when the Rs may be less likely to win. Furthermore, when you resign your current seat to assume your new seat, the Rs get to pick your replacement, so no harm there either.

    Well, hell, nobody would try and get away with the scenario I just described. However, that is sort of what Dunkins is doing — he is running for a seat on the freeholder board different than the one he currently occupies. Would it be legal for U.S. Senator Lautenberg to run for U.S. Senator Menendez’ seat next year while he holds N.J.’s other senate seat? I hope not.

    The only saving grace for Dunkins is that his term is set to expire very close to the time he would have to assume his new seat. So, if there is no clear law here a judge just may let him do it (he would of course have to resign his old seat).

    However, I hope he isn’t allowed to do it, and that the law is clear on this. A person who is elected to a board should only remain on that board by being re-elected to the seat he currently occupies. He should not be allowed to run for another seat while holding an existing one. No one, save for Marlon Brando later in life and others of similar carriage, can fill two seats at the same time

    As I wrote earlier, this is not respecting the process nor this county. I hope it is not legal. If it is, it shouldn’t be.

  2. This senairo is certainly not kosher. If Dukins should win I believe he has to give up one seat to take the other. Now the Ds appt. Someone till Jan. Here’s the interseting part do we have a special electon for this one seat and who pays for it. Bingo us the tax payers? Is it fair, no they were told what to do by special councel and they ignored it. If this is the case then the CCDO should pay the bill on this one.

  3. Guess-Who says:

    The RESULTS of the Election will become OFFICIAL when ?

    Isn’t there a grace period after the Election for VOTES to be CHALLENGED ?

    Just because one Candidate has 1 more Vote than an Opponent, doesn’t mean it is Official!

    What happens IF the R’s CHALLENGE the Votes Dunkins possibly RECEIVED in the Election ?

    Will the Chosen Board of Freeholders only have Five Members (3-R’s & 2-D’s) until the Court Decides ?

    While some are Questioning IF Dunkins can Legally seek another Freeholder Seat while he currently HOLDS a Freeholder Seat.

    Again this is HOW to STOP this Non-Sense:

    (The R’s CHALLENGE the Votes Dunkins possibly RECEIVED in the Election,

    The Chosen Board of Freeholders only have Five Members (3-R’s & 2-D’s) until the Court[s] Decides)

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