SOMERVILLE, NJ - Three Republican incumbents are being challenged by a like number of Democrats for two seats on the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the office of Somerset County Surrogate.
All six candidates appear on the paper ballots mailed to voters last month. Ballots must be filled out and returned by Election Day, Nov.3, using ballot boxes that have been installed throughout Somerset County, or turned in by person on Election Day at designated ballot places.
Today, Tuesday, Oct. 13 is the deadline to register to vote. Register online at vote.nj.gov.
The following profiles have been provided by the Democratic and Republican county committees
Somerset County Surrogate Frank Bruno, Republican incumbent:
Recognized as a national leader in his field, Frank Bruno has been elected four times to serve as the Somerset County Surrogate. Before being elected Surrogate, Bruno served as a member of the Bound Brook Borough Council, and was selected by his peers as Borough Council president from 1994-1998.
Bruno lives in Branchburg with his wife Anita. The couple have two children. Bruno is a Navy veteran, serving on the USS. Randolph from1965-68, returning home to work for 35 years with Union Carbide and serving as a union officer for the Atomic & Chemical Workers.
He is a leader in New Jersey and nationally, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Association of Counties. He is also a past president of the National College of Probate Judges.
Bernice "Tina" Jalloh, Democratic challenger for Somerset County Surrogate:
Bernice "Tina" Jalloh is currently serving as the Franklin Township Prosecutor and is a partner at her law firm, Jalloh & Jalloh LLC, where she practices civil litigation, commercial and corporate transactions, wills and estate planning, as well as family law.
She is the recipient of the 2019 Legal Services of New Jersey Equal Justice Award, for her Pro bono work in Surrogate Court and Family Court around the state of New Jersey.
Jalloh lives in Franklin Township and is the chairwoman of the Somerset County Democratic Committee Black Caucus.
Somerset County Freeholder Brian Gallagher, Republican incumbent:
Brian Gallagher is running for his second term as a Somerset County Freeholder. Brian has a long electoral winning streak, having won four mayoral elections in Democrat-majority Somerville.
His signature accomplishment as mayor of Somerville is the downtown Somerville revival, which transformed the county seat.
Born and raised in Elizabeth Gallagher attended St. Genevieve Grammar School, then Seton Hall Prep in South Orange. His college years were spent in New Hampshire at New England College, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration.
Gallagher his wife Lisa, and in 1991 they were married and settled in Somerville where they have five children. Lisa (nee Merk) was raised in Montgomery, and attended the Montgomery public schools where her mother Janet was a teacher for 20 years, and still resides in the Township.
Gallagher began his active participation in local government serving as the first chair of the Somerset County Juvenile Conference Committee in the early 90s. He was subsequently appointed to sit on the Somerville Parking and Traffic Committee and in 2001 was appointed to the Somerville Borough Council to fill an unexpired term. Later that year he ran and was elected to the Borough Council.
In 2003, he ran and won the Mayor's seat by 3 votes for his first four-year term. He was subsequently elected Mayor for four consecutive terms, serving from 2004-2018. During his 14 years as Mayor, Somerville realized a major renaissance which has reshaped the seat of Somerset County physically and financially, into a destination for business, visitors, and residents. As freeholder, he serves as liaison to the Park Commission, the Library Board, the Planning Board, Mental Health Board, Engineering, Board of Social Services, Cultural & Heritage Commission, and the Regional Center Partnership.
In addition to being a Freeholder, Gallagher is also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians; Somerville Elks, the Somerville Metro Lions Club, and a past president and current Board member of the Union County 200 Club.
Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine, Republican incumbent:
Brian Levine is running for his third term as a Somerset County Freeholder. He has a long electoral winning streak, having won four mayoral elections in Democrat-majority Franklin. Levine is an MBA/CPA in private practice, who has extensive knowledge of public finance and budgeting, and is an accomplished chess player.
Brian is married to Lori, and the couple have two children. The Levines live in Franklin Township. Brian owns and operates Brian D. Levine, CPA, an accounting and financial consulting practice, in Somerset, NJ. He earned a BA in Economics from Rutgers University, and an MBA (concentration in finance) from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management.
Before becoming a freeholder, Brian was elected to the Franklin Township Council, serving from 1998-2003, and was elected three times as Mayor of Franklin Township, serving from 2004-2014. Brian was Freeholder Director in 2019 and Deputy Director in 2018.
Levine was recognized as a Freeholder of the Year by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors in 2017.
Douglas Singleterry, Democratic challenger for Somerset County Freeholder
Douglas Singleterry is serving his fourth term on the North Plainfield Borough Council where he has spearheaded initiatives dealing with economic development and sustainability. An attorney, he is a recipient of the Service to the Community Award presented by the New Jersey State Bar Young Lawyers Division. He is the co-author of a book on commercial transaction law and a peer-reviewed article on the international law of genocide.
Paul Drake, Democratic challenger for Somerset County Freeholder
Paul Drake is a lifelong resident of Somerset County, who lives in Hillsborough with his wife. Paul has served on the Township Committee in Hillsborough, the Hillsborough Planning Board and Board of Adjustment. Paul brings experience as a Professional Planner and an environmental expert and educator. He has worked for the National Park Service, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the State Planning Commission and now works at PSE&G as a Public Affairs manager. He also teaches urban planning at Rutgers University.