BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Four candidates, two Democrats and two Republicans, filed on Monday to be included on June's primary ballots seeking to be their party's official Township Committee candidates for two seats available in this year's election. The line-up means there will be no contest in the primary election, but another face-off between the two parties in November.

All of the candidates have already been endorsed by their local political organizations: John Surano and Joseph Esposito were chosen to represent the Republicans after longtime Township Committee members Carolyn Gaziano and John Malay chose not to run again.

The Democratic candidates seeking election are Joan B. Harris, who sought election last fall, and Robert J. Mascia, a newcomer. 

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The deadline for filing to be included on the June 5 primary election ballot was Monday, April 2.

On March 19, the local Republican organization endorsed Surano and Esposito. "Bernards is rich in talent and full of residents who love living here," said Leslie Workman, chairwoman of the Bernards Township Republican Municipal Committee. "We are grateful for the fresh faces that came out tonight, and take seriously our role to select qualified Republican candidates to run for office who intend to keep Bernards great."

The local Democratic organization endorsed both candidates last week, noting that Harris and the other Democrat to seek election last year, Sally Booth, gave Republicans James Baldassare Jr. and incumbent John Carpenter a run for their money in November in a close race, although the GOP eventually kept its hold on the Township Committee. 

“There is unrest in Bernards Township, and residents want change," said Democratic Committee Chair Nancy D'Andrea. "They want representatives who will listen to growing concerns about land use and development,  solutions to address the mental health and opioid addiction epidemic, and proactive planning for severe weather damage and power shortages."