Trenton mayor backs incumbent for Mercer County executive

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora (left) and incumbent Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora (left) and incumbent Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. City of Trenton)

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said Monday he is “inclined” to support the incumbent, Brian Hughes, in the race for Mercer County executive. That is despite one of his predecessors supporting Assemblyman Dan Benson in the upcoming Democratic primary.

“I think that our county executive has done a great job over the years,” Gusciora said. “We continue to partner with the county to get things done in the capital city.”

Hughes is running for his sixth term as county executive. But he will need to beat a spirited challenge from Benson, who announced his candidacy in December. The Democratic primary is set for June 6.

Gusciora’s support for Hughes comes as Doug Palmer, the former mayor of Trenton, endorsed Benson. Palmer, who led the city for 20 years, said Hughes did not build upon the investments his administration made to jump-start an economic recovery for the city.

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The current mayor, who recently began his second term, said that Trenton continues “to put our palms up every year” when it comes to seeking help from the county or the state.

“The challenge then becomes who is listening and who is delivering,” Gusciora said, adding that as the Garden State’s capital city, they “should expect more.”

“But nonetheless, I have a good working relationship with our county executive.”

The city released a photo Friday of Gusciora and Hughes recently meeting to discuss priorities for Trenton for the next four years.

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While Hughes has claimed major endorsements from several labor unions, Benson has secured the endorsement of dozens of municipal leaders across the county; a list that includes mayors, council and committee members, in addition to Palmer’s endorsement.

Gusciora said he has “full respect” for his former Assembly colleague.

He thinks whether Benson or Hughes claims victory, the result “would be good for the citizens of Mercer County.”

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