SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ - Local resident Darrin Russo and Melonie Marano both Democrats accepted an invite to debate their Republican challengers from the League of Women Voters' according to a news release. 

Russo is running for County Sheriff against William “Bill” Parenti and Marano is running for County Freeholder against incumbent Patricia L. “Pat” Walsh this November. 

At the time of publication of this article, Parenti and Walsh have not accepted the LWV's invitation to debate. 

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“Debates are an American tradition, and I am excited to have the opportunity to discuss the issues facing our county in a public forum,” Marano said in a news release. “Darrin and I have the experience, qualifications and vision to make Somerset County work for everyone, and can’t wait to be on a stage with our opponents.”

“I can’t think of a better way to highlight the differences between our campaigns than to stand in front of an audience answering their questions about the future of Somerset County,” Russo said in a news release. “The voters deserve a chance to see Melonie and me in contrast to the opposing candidates, and we look forward to this and any other opportunity to present ourselves.”

According to Somerset County Democratic Chair, Peg Schaffer, Russo and Marano are open to attend any debate hosted by a non-partisan group, by sending a request to

The debate is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 7 pm in the Somerville High School Auditorium, according to a news release.