Debate set to cap nasty mayoral campaign in Orange

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for
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on May 02, 2016

Left to right: Orange East Ward Councilman Kerry Coley, Mayor Dwayne Warren and political newcomer Jan Morrell. The trio are vying to earn a four-year term as mayor in a May 10 election.


ORANGE – A trio of mayoral candidates will face off in a final debate on Wednesday, less than a week before voters head to the polls.

Dwayne Warren, Kerry Coley and Janice Morrell have all confirmed they will take part from 7 to 9 p.m. at the city's YWCA, according to organizers. Jonathan Alston, co-host of the "All Politics Are Local" show on WRNU radio, will serve as moderater.

The debate will help cap a heated campaign season, as East Ward Councilman Coley and relative political newcomer Morrell seek to deny Warren a second term as mayor.

Warren began attacking Coley in July 2015, calling him a misogynist for allegedly sharing an explicit video via his personal Facebook page. Coley claimed he was hacked and called Warren's attacks little more than dirty politics.

Since the campaign began in earnest earlier this year, Warren has faced attacks over his 2013 endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie and ties to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. Meanwhile, a political action committee tied to the mayor has continued to raise issues over the Facebook video and internal affairs complaints against Coley during his tenure as a city police officer, according to Politico.

Last month, Coley filed a lawsuit over the allegations he shared the explicit video.

Morrell, a retired talent and admissions officer at Rutgers University who has held a longtime seat on the city's Zoning Board of Adjustment, has largely steered clear of any direct attacks. Last month, a spokesman for her campaign denied to PolitickerNJ that she was behind an anti-Coley flier that purported to show Councilwoman Donna Williams sleeping on the job.

Warren may have scored a late boost from one of the area's largest labor groups last week, when he appeared along Communications Workers of America representatives at a press conference outlining an ordinance that would regulate Uber and other mobile car-hailing services.

Voters are set to decide which candidate will earn a four-year term on May 10.

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