HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – It may take days to determine the winners in the race for two seats on the Township Committee.
Several races in Somerset County will be affected by Tuesday’s court order issued by Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone in Somerville, which will delay the final results of many elections in Somerset County for several days; the Board of Elections resumes counting a record number of mail in ballots – upwards of 20,000 - at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Many of those ballots may have been submitted by Hillsborough voters, and with less than 300 votes separating two of the local candidates, the election is too close to call, according to Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter.
Republican incumbent Committeeman Shawn Lipani and running mate Ron Skobo had the most votes Tuesday night – Lipani, 7,365 votes (25.95 percent), and Skobo, 7,202 votes (25.37 percent).
Democratic candidates Olivia Holmes had 6,938 votes (24.44 percent) and running mate Jeffrey Wright had 6,684 votes (24.18 percent).
Democrats flexed their muscles on the county and federal levels, with Democrats winning two seats on the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders; when sworn to office in January, Shanel Robinson and Sara Sooy will become the first Democratic Freeholders in 40 years in Somerset County, reflecting the changing complexion of the political map in Somerset County.
There were eight candidates for Hillsborough Board of Education. Thomas Zobele ran against Joyce Eldridge-Howard for an unexpired one-year term on the board. Howard received 5,059 votes, only 96 votes more than Zobele.
Six other candidates ran to fill three, 3-year terms on the school board.
Jane M. Staats a former Hillsborough High School math teacher, was the clear favorite, with 7,060 votes (31.32 percent). Staats had run unsuccessfully last year as a Democratic candidate for Township Committee. Lisa Maroun received 4,394 votes (19.49 percent); Dana BogusZewski who has served on the school board since 2015 received 3,167 votes (14.05 percent).
Other candidates were Christopher Pulsifer, also a current board member appointed to an unexpired term earlier this year and Bonnie Kole and Brett Cooper, who has also served since 2015.
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was reelected to a third term, defeating GOP challenger Bob Hugin; Democratic challenger Tom Malinowski defeated five-term GOP incumbent Leonard Lance by a vote of 136,993 (50.3 percent) to 131.149 (48.2 percent) in the 7th Congressional District race.
Vote totals for all races – US Senate, House of Representatives, Somerset County Freeholder and a state ballot question asking voters to approve $500 million for education are all affected by the delay caused by the mail-in ballots.
In the race for US Senate,Menendez received 58,492 votes in Somerset County; Hugin received 52,622 votes.
In the 7th District Congressional race, Malinowski received 44,760 votes in Somerset County; Lance trailed with 39,941 votes
Both of the Republican incumbents running for reelection as Somerset County Freeholders were soundly defeated by their Democratic opponents.
Democrat Robinson, who also ran last year losing by 1,500 votes, received the most votes in the Freeholder election, 59,255; Sooy, her running mate, received 57,741 votes .
Incumbent Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione received 52,280 votes and his GOP running mate Mark Caligure, 51,720 votes .
The breakdown shows Robinson receiving 26.8 percent of the vote, Sooy, 26.1 percent, Scaglione 23.6 percent and Caliguire, 23.4 percent.
The public ballot question which asked voters to approve a $500 million state bond issue to pay for education infrastructure and programs passed with 48,785 “yes” votes in Somerset County and 45,931 “no” votes.
There were 116,444 votes cast countywide, representing 49.8 percent of the 233,564 registered voters in Somerset County.
All vote totals and results are unofficial until certified by election officials.