BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Mayor James Baldassare, Jr., who is completing his first term on the Bernards Township Committee, and newcomer Kathleen Grochala this week received the endorsement of the Bernards Township Republican Municipal Committee (BTRMC) to run on the GOP line for two open three-year Township Committee terms in the November 2020 election. 

Baldassare ran for office three years ago with Township Committeeman John Carpenter as his running mate. Carpenter already has announced that after finishing up his 15th year on the Township Committee by the end of 2020, he would not seek to be elected to a sixth term.

The BTRMC held its candidate screening on Monday, Feb. 17, at the Basking Ridge Fire Co.'s firehouse. “I congratulate Jim and Kate," said Richard Bianchi, chairman for the BTRMC, said in a release from the local GOP committee. “I also congratulate the BTRMC for their dedication toward ensuring a smooth, open, and fair process to select and elect Republicans to ultimately serve the great township of Bernards."

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In addition to Baldassare and Grochala, two other residents, Albert LiCata and Tyler Seville sought the Republican committee endorsement, the release said. The endorsed candidates will be listed on the ballot in June's primary election.

The local Democratic party had also sought Township Committee candidates for this year's election, and has also said it would announce its endorsed candidates in upcoming weeks.

Backgrounds of endorsed Republican candidates

Baldassare grew up in Bernards Township and resides on Queen Anne Drive with his wife, Tracy. He and his wife have six children. An honorably discharged Marine, Baldassare has served the community a number of ways including, but not limited to: as deputy mayor in 2019, on the Bernards Township Parks, Recreation and Pathways Advisory Committee, the Bernards Township Planning Board, the Bernards Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Bernards Township Republican Municipal Committee; Chairman, the BTRMC Scholarship Committee, the release noted. He also was a volunteer Assistant Freshmen Baseball Coach for the Ridge High School team. 

Baldassare is currently employed as Director of Surety for Turner Surety and Insurance Brokerage in Paramus.

Kate Grochala is a long time resident of Bernards Township and resides on Dyckman Place with her husband. They are parents of two grown daughters.

Grochala is an attorney and previously held the position of chief of staff to former N.J. Assemblywoman Denise Coyle. Her legislative background and years of experience as a former member of the Somerset County Republican Committee bring invaluable experience and knowledge to public service, the release said. Grochala is a steadfast supporter of the township's first responders and is dedicated to local veterans, the release added.

For more information of the BTRMC, including how to get involved registered Republicans should contact BTRMC Chairman Richard Bianchi at