BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Somerset County's final results of the vote count from the Nov. 5 election confirms Republican Janice Fields as the top vote-getter in a three-way race for the one three-year term on the Bernards Township Committee. She will be sworn into office in January 2020.
In the final results posted on the Somerset County election board's website, Fields received almost 52 percent of votes counted, or 3,845 votes.
Sophia Chadda, the Democratic candidate, received almost 45 percent of votes, or 3,303 votes. Independent Todd Edelstein, who began his campaign during the election season, received 263 votes, or 3.55 percent of the ballots cast.
"I am happy and honored that the residents of our Township have chosen me to represent them on the Township Committee," Fields said in an email statement,
"I am personally grateful to my fellow residents of Bernards for placing their trust in me and I will work to ensure their voices are heard," she added. "I look forward to representing ALL residents of Bernards on the Township Committee and the work that awaits starting in January."
Fields was in the lead when unofficial results posted on election night, when the first count of ballots gave her 3,723 votes, compared with 3,137 votes for Chadda, and 250 votes for Edelstein.
Fields offers thanks to all, and recognizes other candidates
Fields, added "sincere thanks to all," said she wanted to recognize Sophia Chadda and Todd Edelstein for their "spirited campaign."
In the 2018 campaign, Democrat Joan Harris had initially placed third in a campaign for two available spots on the five-member Township Committee, but eventually came out ahead in the final vote. Harris was the first Democrat in 20 years to be elected to the previously all-GOP Township Committee
This past weekend, Nancy D'Andrea, Chair of the Bernards Township Democratic Committee, chose to focus on the overall gains that local and county Democrats have made in the past two years.
"The last time we had an off year election like this in 2015, there wasn't even a Democrat running. Gaziano and Malay ran uncontested," D'Andrea noted in an email. "So are we upset we lost? Of course! But we honestly ran a fantastic and professional campaign," she said, noting that "campaign manager Catherine Santaiti, candidate Dr. Sophia Chadda and all our teams were top rate and worked tirelessly for months."
D'Andrea called Chadda an "amazing candidate" who worked non-shop, canvassing more than 4,000 township homes. She added the Democrats ran a "clean and ethical campaign that aligned with our values.
She added that the BTDC has "helped turn the county blue." She said that Steve Peter, Shanel Robinson, Sara Sooy, and now Darrin Russo and Melonie Marano are five Democrats that won on a County level since 2017. "We are making a difference! And next year will be no different," she added.