Thomas H. Cooke Jr.

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Thomas H. Cooke Jr. (October 13, 1929 - May 18, 2020) was an American Democratic Party politician who served as Mayor of East Orange, New Jersey, from 1978 to 1986.

Biography

Cooke was elected to the East Orange City Council in 1961, at age 32, and was re-elected in 1969 and 1969.

In 1967, Cooke became a candidate for the New Jersey General Assembly, running in Essex County District 11D. Cooke and his running mate, Frank J. Dodd, a future New Jersey Senate President and 1981 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, easily defeated Francis T. Craig in the Democratic primary.[1] In the general election, the two seats were won by Republican Kenneth Wilson (19,281) and Dodd (19,101), with Republican Donald MacArt, a former East Orange Council Chairman(17,845) and Cooke (17,816) losing.[2]

He was elected to the Essex County Board of Freeholders in 1970, and was re-elected in 1973.[3] He was not a candidate for re-election to a third term in 1976 after losing the backing of the powerful Essex County Democratic Chairman, Harry Lerner.[4]

He ran for Mayor in 1977, defeating Lerner's candidate, two term Mayor William Stanford Hart Sr. in the Democratic primary.[5][6] He won renomination in the 1981 Democratic primary by just 321 votes, and lost the Democratic primary for Essex County Executive to incumbent Peter Shapiro by a 2-1 margin.[7]

Cooke made an unsuccessful comeback bid in 1997, challenging incumbent Mayor Robert L. Bowser in the Democratic primary. He finished fifth in that race with just 520 votes (4.8%). Bowser defeated Sheila Oliver 3,991 (37%) to 3,939 (36%).

References

  1. "1967 Primary Election Results". New Jersey Division of Elections. http://nj.gov/state/elections/1920-1970-results/1967-primary-election.pdf. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  2. "1967 General Election Results". New Jersey Division of Elections. http://nj.gov/state/elections/1920-1970-results/1967-general-election.pdf. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  3. Gleeson, Pat (18 December 1977). "Hopes Are Rising for East Orange". New York Times. 
  4. Gleeson, Pat (18 December 1977). "Hopes Are Rising for East Orange". New York Times. 
  5. Gleeson, Pat (18 December 1977). "Hopes Are Rising for East Orange". New York Times. 
  6. Sullivan, Joseph F. (22 April 1977). "DeRose Becomes 11th Democrat Seeking Nomination for Governo". New York Times. 
  7. Norman, Michael (13 August 1982). "IN EAST ORANGE, MAYOR LEADS A 'WAR' ON SLUMS". New York Times.