BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Republicans James Baldassare Jr.,mayor for 2020, and newcomer Kathleen Grochala have confirmed their election night lead with a certified win over their Democratic opponents for two seats on the Bernards Township Committee.
According to final election results posted on the Somerset County election website on Sunday night, incumbent Baldassare was the top votegetter in the four-way race for two three-year terms on the Township Committee with 9,028 votes cast for him on election day, Nov. 3. His Republican running mate, Grochala, who received 8,497 votes, won election to the second open spot on the governing body.
Of the two Democrats, Sophia Chadda received 7,549 votes, and Jonathan Sandler won 7,306 votes.
With the final election results, the Township Committee will maintain its political makeup of four Republicans and one Democrat, Township Committeeman Joan Harris.
However, there will be a new face on the governing body, Grochala, replacing long-time Township Committeeman John Carpenter, who had decided not to seek re-election.
Both campaigns had issued thanks to their supporters during this year's campaign, with the Democrats issuing congratulating to Baldassare and Grochala, even as they said they would "continue to keep those in office answerable for their actions."
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday following the posting of the final election results, Baldassare and Grochala said their campaign had been run under the banner of “Leadership That Puts You First," and attributed their victory to themes that "clearly resonated with voters in what was a huge turnout."
"Jim and Kate had a consistent message, namely: 'We are fiscal conservatives devoted to promoting efficient, responsive, transparent and community-focused government.'"
"Having served our township in various capacities, I have worked to make sure other families have the same positive experiences we have had in raising our families in Bernards," Baldassare said.
Grochala said she had emphasized during the campaign, "We are committed to keeping Bernards Township the safe and welcoming community our residents have chosen to call home. We believe all of our residents deserve to be treated equally with respect and dignity.”
“We want to thank all of our supporters, including the many independent and Democratic voters who voted for us, for having faith in us to represent you at the Township level," the Republicans said in their joint statement. "We will continue to work as hard and as smart as we can for all the residents of Bernards Township. Thank you all for your confidence and support, and may God Bless each and every one of you."
The Republicans noted that Bernards Township has been named as one of the best places to live in the United States because of decades of solid and efficient Republican leadership. The newly elected candidates said they would "continue the Republican stewardship of safety, low taxes, frugal spending, smart growth and outstanding quality of life that is the foundation of our town's success."
The Republicans said they ran a positive campaign, speaking to the actual issues and refraining from personal attacks.
The Democrats had issued a release on Monday thanking their supporters for their "collective efforts."
"We are grateful beyond words and deeply appreciative of your commitment and dedication to our shared goals," the release said. "While the results are not what we had hoped for, upon reflection there is very little that we would change. We are proud of the campaign we ran and the important issues that we put front and center," setting it as a priority to ensure that all voices in Bernards Township continue to be heard."
"As we go forward, let's continue to keep those in office answerable for their actions and the progress we all seek," the Democrats said in their release. "The people of Bernards Township deserve nothing less than a fully engaged governing body that represents all township residents."
"We would also like to congratulate Mayor Baldassare and Kate Grochala on their victory," the Democrats said. "This is a great responsibility, and we wish them both the best of luck".
The Democrats also thanked their core campaign team of Catherine Santaiti, Sara Nichols, Steve Glickman, Sanjay Bery, Nancy D’Andrea, Jane Conklin, Jen Kluger, and Liz Graner."