Niedergang, Williamson win Democratic primary race for Princeton Council

Newcomers Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson easily won the primary race Tuesday night, beating out three other candidates.

Each voter could vote for two candidates for council in the Democratic primary. Niedergang received 2,363 votes and Williamson received 1,792 votes. Michelle Pirone Lambros came in third with 892 votes. Surinder Sharma received 573 votes and Adam Bierman received 514 votes. Alvin McGowen received 140 votes even though he announced last month, too late for his name to be removed from the ballot, that he was dropping out of the race. A seventh candidate, Myrtha Jasmin dropped out of the race shortly after the Princeton Community Democratic Organization meeting.

Williamson and Niedergang announced their candidacies the same morning that Democratic incumbents Lance Liverman and Heather Howard said they would not be seeking another term on the six-member council.

The Princeton Community Democratic Organization, a club members pay dues to to participate in and endorse candidates that many consider to be Princeton’s local political machine, voted to support the two at the organization’s caucus in the spring, with Niedergang receiving enough votes for an “endorsement” and Williamson receiving enough votes for PCDO “support.” The municipal committee also voted to rank Williamson and Niedergang as their top choices. The two received the top two spots on the ballot for the primary race.

Niedergang, the volunteer coordinator for the Stony-Brook Millstone Watershed Association, has lived in Princeton for more than 25 years. She has served on the board of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, and was co-chair of the Riverside School PTO. She is a member of the executive board for the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, and represents her district on the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee.

She has pledged to:

– Encourage zoning and ordinances that promote smart and sensible growth to keep Princeton affordable, allow older residents to continue living in Princeton, maintain the town’s diversity and plan for the affordable housing requirement

-Hold down municipal property taxes through careful analysis of expenditures and sharing additional services with the schools, other communities and Mercer County

-Work to protect the environment and maintain a commitment to sustainability

-Ensure that Princeton remains a welcoming community for all and that all residents are treated with respect and consideration

-Work proactively with local businesses so that the downtown remains an accessible and attractive destination for residents and visitors; and

-Reach out to Princeton University and other institutions of higher learning to explore initiatives of mutual benefit and to ensure that new taxable development stays in town.

Williamson is a lawyer with a private practice in Trenton who handles personal injury, civil litigation, real estate and traffic court cases. Last year he was the campaign manager for Princeton Council members Tim Quinn and Jenny Crumiller, and Mayor Liz Lempert, who all ran unopposed in the general election. He and his wife have lived in Princeton since 1998 and have three children. He has served on the Princeton Planning Board, as Democratic municipal committeeman for his district,  and is first vice president of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. He is also a volunteer for Committed and Faithful Princetonians.

He has pledged to:

-Be a responsible steward of public funds, working to find the right balance between maintaining excellent municipal services and limiting increases in the municipal portion of property tax bills.

– Make Princeton more affordable, going beyond the court mandate to ensure that middle class families can both move into and remain in Princeton.

– Ensure the viability of the commercial sector and to keep Princeton affordable for residents aging-in-place, as well as for young families and those seeking to move to town.

-Promote sustainability, balancing the environmental impact of decisions with the social and economic impacts.

-Create a walkable and bikable town

-Make sure Princeton is a welcoming community

– Strengthen the town-gown relationship.and ensure that contributions from the town’s tax-exempt institutions are fair and appropriate

The two will face Lishian “Lisa” Wu in the general election in November. She is the only Republican running for council this year and is the first Republican in three years to run for a council seat.