Former Trenton mayor endorses Assemblyman Benson for Mercer County Executive

File photo: Former Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer (left) and Assemblyman Dan Benson (AP Photo/Mel Evans and N.J. Legislature)

File photo: Former Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer (left) and Assemblyman Dan Benson (AP Photo/Mel Evans and N.J. Legislature)

Doug Palmer will not run for Mercer County Executive.

The former, long-time mayor of Trenton kicked the tires on a possible challenge to the long-time County Executive Brian Hughes recently.

Instead of challenging Hughes, who launched a bid for a sixth-term in November, Palmer will throw his support behind Assemblyman Dan Benson.

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Palmer told New Jersey Globe, who first reported on his decision, that he “strongly believe[s] Dan Benson can bring us the type of new leadership, economic revitalization, equity and inclusion this county needs.”

Benson, who has served in the Assembly since 2011, will formally announce his primary campaign on Wednesday. Ahead of that, Palmer will announce his endorsement of Benson Monday afternoon.

Palmer, Trenton’s first Black mayor, was the city’s executive for 20 years before leaving office in 2010 after five terms.

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Whether it was Palmer or Benson, both men would be challenging a long-time, popular incumbent.

“Challenging a well-known incumbent who has been around for a long time is never an easy thing,” said Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, “but it gets even harder when you start splitting the opposition among different challengers.”

Rasmussen adds that it “seems pretty clear” that both men might have approached each other.

“They figured out how they could set aside their differences to work together to take on Hughes,” he said.

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