Ceoffe may challenge D7 process

Published by Tim McNulty on .

There goes Tony Ceoffe's family vacation in Myrtle Beach.

Ceoffe, a city Housing Authority worker and the party chairman in the city's 6th ward in Polish Hill, is a candidate for the open city council seat vacated by Patrick Dowd and has some problems with the way the Democratic committee is handling its endorsement vote coming up this Sunday. He's not so bothered with giving up his own beach vacation, but other committee people have told him they're going ahead with their own summer plans and skipping the Sunday morning vote in Lawrenceville.

Why, Ceoffe asked, did party leaders only gave the 100-odd committee people in the East End district five days notice before the vote? They're the ones who'll decide which candidate has "Democrat" affixed to their name on Nov. 5, forcing others to run as independents.

"I don't think it was fair to the committee members or the candidates," Ceoffe said in an interview.

Highland Park community activist Deb Gross is running for the seat, and other candidates for the party nod could emerge later in the week. (Ravenstahl staffer Paul McKrell will not be one of them, we've learned.)

The party has 15 days after the election writ was issued (yesterday) to forward its nominee to the county elections department. County committee chair Nancy Mills said the vote has to be held on a weekend to accomodate schedules, and holding it until Sunday July 28 would be too close to the county deadline.

Besides, candidates have long known that a party endorsement -- with a special election to follow -- was coming, Mills said.

"They haven't only had a few days to campaign. They've been campaigning since the day Patrick Dowd said he was stepping down," she said.

Ceoffe had two other concerns, about five new committee members Mills appointed within the district (in the 2nd and 8th wards) last week, and why Gross is listed as an 8th Ward committee member if she rather lives in Highland Park (the 11th ward).

A spokesman for Gross, Nate Lerner, said his candidate formerly lived in the 8th ward in Bloomfield and is remaining in the committee spot until a new member is elected.

Ceoffe is considering filing a formal complaint with the party regarding his concerns.

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