Pair Will Seek to Oust Butler in Democratic Princeton Primary








The majority that controls the Princeton Council is seeking to oust incumbent Councilwoman Jo Butler in the Democratic primary this June.

Council President Bernie Miller and former Princeton Township Committeewoman Sue Nemeth have announced that they are running as a slate in the the June primary. The two are being backed by Mayor Liz Lempert, Councilwoman Heather Howard, and Councilman Lance Liverman.

Nemeth and Miller served on the Princeton Township Committee together with Lempert and Liverman. Nemeth is a public relations specialist at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. She did not seek reelection to the new governing body for the consolidated Princeton and instead chose to run for the New Jersey State Assembly. She lost the primary to Marie Corfield.  Miller, 84, has been an elected official in Princeton for more than a decade. A Captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1957, he was a business executive for 45 years.

“Uniting Princeton was our first step in preserving the financial health and small town quality of life in our community. In the coming weeks, we will engage voters throughout the community in discussions of our shared values and vision for the future,” Nemeth said in a press release sent out to the media today announcing the campaign. The press release was dated Dec. 6.

“Sue brings people together and has a ‘can do’ style that gets results. I look forward to having her on our team as we lead Princeton forward. Bernie was instrumental in consolidating Princeton. He has worked to carry the best of each former municipality into the new Princeton,” Lempert said in the press release.

“Bernie and Sue see the big picture and understand the local impact on the community. They’re the perfect pair to represent taxpayers on Council,” Liverman said in the press release.

Butler has been a thorn in the side for the new governing body, challenging positions of the Council since the start of consolidation. When the new Princeton reorganized in January of 2013, the council was asked to approve professional appointments without viewing the contracts first, a move she opposed. She voted against the retirement package for former Police Chief David Dudeck, has scrutinized the legal bills for the municipality, and has pushed for the town to consider other law firms.

Butler said it is important for elected officials to ask critical questions to insure Princeton citizens are being served well. She said was disappointed but not surprised about the effort of her fellow Democrats to get her out of office.

“I’ve been a watchdog on fiscal responsibility and I will continue to do that,” Butler said. “I’ve been a strong fiscal watchdog. As long as I’ve served we’ve had a zero tax increase, and the tax rate in the new municipality decreased. I pushed for an oversight committee for legal expenses and that has saved us thousands of dollars. I’ve pushed for increased transparency, for more transparency, particularly in the area of police oversight. I’ve pushed to have police reports delivered at council meetings. It took until November to get a commitment from the town to re-institute publication of police reports.”

Butler, who works for independent school consulting firm Wickenden Associates, said she is passionate about seeing that all citizens in the community are represented.

“I’ve been responsive to citizens’ needs when approached about issues or concerns,” Butler said. “I care about the quality of life in Princeton.  I walk the town, I’m in the town every day, I work in town and I love the community.”


  1. So, a true Democrat, that apparently stands for the things one would expect and likely voted for, is about to be ousted by quasi-Dems with the backing of the Mayor in order to generate some strange sort of rubber-stamp politburo.

    Please tell me it is April 1.

    1. Agreed. I was talking to a former Twp elected official the other day who said he/she was disgusted that the Township had to “inherit” the current Boro elected officials. I thought the towns consolidated in 2013. This thinking speaks to the problems we are having which is that the elected officials have not embraced the fact that we are one town. Furthermore, some of them continue to do what they have done in the past which is make most decisions behind closed doors and they are fait accompli by the time the public hears them or even has an opportunity to have input. And when someone questions these former and present practices, which is her exercising best practices which should have been done all along, she is seen as someone who has to be voted out of office. I can only hope the PCDO does not endorse any candidate for the primary and lets the voters speak for themselves without the influence of endorsements, or ballot positions, which are swayed by a small group.

      1. Thank you, for this Gee and hmmm. Jo Butler, please keep being “a thorn in the side” as it is exactly what our local government needs. For a savvy “liberal” community, the amount of transparency is appalling….
        Checks and Balances. Checks and Balances.

        1. I agree with the comments above and trust that Princeton voters will appreciate Jo Butler as I do. Her approach to her job stands in stark contrast to the cronyism of Lempert, Miller et al.

  2. Nemeth ran a tacky campaign against Marie Corfield, she has nothing to show for her time in office except buying Chad Goerner’s house after a tree fell on hers and Goerner beat a hasty retreat to Hopewell Township. We should elect people that have actual experience managing real businesses in purposeful job or work environments – not someone who has spent her time on the State payroll for 20 years defending the perks of public employees feeding at the trough. Enough already!

  3. Old proverb, to Bernie, Liz, Lance, and the Other One: Be careful what you wish for. You may get it. Jo may not be the easiest person to work with, but Sue is no day at the beach either. And her campaign against Corfield was ugly, aggressive, and personal, which did the party no favors.

    On one hand, it’s obvious the Bernie-Liz Head thinks its nefarious plan will put an end to Jo’s political career. It seems like the shock-and-awe of the press release was calculated to drive Jo into withdrawing. Really, that “press release” is unprecedented in local politics, and — oh my, all those names! Overwhelming to see all those good Democratic people, whose minds are made up, thank you, six months ahead of the election.

    I don’t think shock-and-awe will work this time, either. I doubt Jo will buckle because all the cool kids signed a petition. She ain’t perfect, but she’s made of better and stronger stuff than that, and the “press release” was unseemly for any town, much less Princeton.

    But, wait! There’s more: Bernie and Sue may have designed this to shut out Jo, but in so doing, they’re shutting out anyone else who might have wanted to run. It’s really sorta not-democratic. It’s just plain ugly politics. It’s right in line with Sue’s direct mail about Marie Corfield.

    And, I’ll lay odds that Bernie Miller, with years of honorable service behind him, is running for re-election without the intention to serve the whole three year term. His “shoe-in” seat is part of the Head’s nefarious plan. He gets re-elected; Sue scoops up Jo’s seat; Bernie serves a year, steps down, and the Cool Kids hand-pick his successor. And so it goes.

    If this weren’t the leadership of a $60M+ municipal corporation behaving badly, it would be an after-school TV special.

    1. Yet to be heard from are the well-financed J.Crummiller, and her husband’s employee, P.Simon. Since the Crummiller’s have a bit of “influence” on the PCDO, I am guessing they’re pulling some of the strings already.

      1. Actually, no. Crummiller is well-quoted in yesterday’s Town Topics about this issue as supporting Butler. And what do you mean by “pulling strings”? — in favor of whom? of what? how? Please be specific.

    2. ‘The Liz Head’ and ‘The Other One’? Pretty extraordinary way to talk about our Mayor and [I presume] elected officials. Jo has asked to be judged on her record. That seems very appropriate. No need to start firing around school-yard insults. PCDO members have a choice- that’s good. Let them go make a choice, and make it about policies, not personalities.

      1. Thank you, good sir. This is generally applicable advice for all persons campaigning. Let us hear Mr. Miller, Ms. Nemeth and their advocates present their case for ousting Ms. Butler based on matters such as her record and qualifications. So far, the unfortunate whisper campaign (yes, I reside and commune in our small town) is about her supposedly being obstructionist.

        Gossip-mongers rather pathetically cite the first town meeting in 2013, when Ms. Butler voted against approving the municipal attorney’s contract sight-unseen and without even knowing the hourly rate.

        Readers, what would you have done?

        1. The municipal lawyer, hmmmm, the one that says is ok that the mayor votes, even though her husband works at PU; therefore, is the breadwinner of her household; but thinks Heather Howard should recuse herself because she works for PU, I think that there is conflict of interests in both cases. The municipal lawyer couldn’t abort a lawsuit from the police officers, not even 1 year later when they came up with the complaints which should have been dismissed in the first place because they came 1 year later. Without reading the contract, I would have question his continuing working because of these 2 issues, but, well, that is just me. I don’t call Ms Butler obstructionist, she questions, she challenges, she just doesn’t follow everything because she has a mind of her own and doesn’t have to agree with the mayor at all times. Is that wrong? Not really, but the HS popular kids don’t like it, the mayor likes things to run smoothly but always her way, it is her way or the highway and this is why they want to oust Jo, they are not even hiding it, the arrogance is at the highest level.

  4. Let’s see Princeton is a one party town where the insiders pick who’s going to run things. Whoops, somehow one slipped through and she has a mind of her own. We better stamp that out as soon as possible otherwise we’ll have this crazy number checking, contract studying, actual management experience outsider upsetting our single tracked apple cart.

    Everybody keep your heads down so that the “chosen” can continue to run things unfettered.

  5. I will be voting for Ms. Butler. Ironically, I’ve been voting against the dems locally for some time now because they can’t seem to rein in spending, but it seems like this might be cause for an exception.

  6. This is a continuation of an effort to oust former Boro members. Bernie Miller ran for office after consolidation (against his original intention to step down) in order to increase former Twp influence on the new Council. He has never been one to appreciate dissenting views. This action against Jo is a step towards the strengthening of an inner-circle cabal, a weak Council and an all-powerful mayor. Hey, wasn’t that what the former Township had?
    We need more open government, with varied voices, not a monolithic, dissention-free, rubber stamp government.

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