Lempert defeats Wilkes '83 2 to 1 in Democratic primary for mayor
Princeton Township Deputy Mayor Liz Lempert defeated Borough Councilman Kevin Wilkes ’83 for the Democratic nomination for mayor of the consolidated Princeton on Tuesday. Lempert earned 2,055 votes, nearly twice the 1,105 votes that Wilkes received.
Lempert will go on to face Republican Richard Woodbridge ’65, a former Borough and Township official in the general election this November. The election between Lempert and Woodbridge will be the first race for the mayor of the newly consolidated Princeton, which will form after the Borough and Township merge on Jan. 1.
Lempert had an edge entering Tuesday after being endorsed by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization with 61.4 percent of the vote at the PCDO endorsement meeting in March. She earned 65 percent of the vote on Tuesday.
“I’m obviously really happy with the results, and I’m proud that we ran a grassroots, positive campaign,” Lempert said. Lempert added that she was happy with the turnout, though she noted that there may have been lighter turnout during the early part of the day due to Commencement.
In an interview, Wilkes praised Lempert and noted that he would be supporting his former competitor in November.
On Wilkes’ campaign’s Facebook page, Wilkes said he was dismayed by the results.
“While I'm disappointed that I won't be on the ballot in the fall, I look forward to this exciting chapter in Princeton's history as we work to consolidate the two Princetons, and I will continue to serve this wonderful community in any way I can,” he wrote.
Dan Preston, president of the PCDO, explained that the campaign between Lempert and Wilkes was competitive, noting that there “were more good candidates than we can possibly nominate.”
The six slots for the Democratic nomination for the Princeton Council were also up for election on Tuesday. Township Committeemen Lance Liverman and Bernie Miller, Borough Councilmen Heather Howard, Jenny Crumiller, and Jo Butler and new candidate Patrick Simon earned the six Democratic nominations.
Nine candidates ran for the positions on the Council; current Borough Mayor Yina Moore ’79 originally made plans to run for a slot on the Council — asking the PCDO to consider her for their nomination — but after coming in last place at the March endorsement meeting, chose not to file for the Democratic primary for the Princeton Council.
Only one Republican, Geoff Aton, member of the Princeton Township Zoning Board, has entered to compete with the six Democrats for a seat on the Council in November.
Though the PCDO endorsed the ultimate winner in the race for the mayor of Princeton, it did not endorse the winner in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for an Assembly seat in the 16th Legislative District, which houses the Borough and the Township. The PCDO endorsed Sue Nemeth in February, but Nemeth lost on Tuesday to teacher and education activist Marie Corfield.
The seat was vacated after Republican Assemblyman Peter Biondi died in November, two days after defeating Corfield.