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Major Upset: Somerville Council President Steve Peter Beats County Clerk Bret Radi

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President Harry S. Truman holds the Chicago Daily Tribune with the incorrect front page banner headline published on Nov. 3, 1948 proclaiming Thomas E. Dewey winner in the presidential election.
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - Democrat Steve Peter, president of the Borough Council, upset incumbent Republican County Clerk Bret Radi by a narrow 128-vote margin in Tuesday’s election for a 5-year term.

Radi has worked in the Somerset County Clerk’s Office since 1993.

The final vote tally: Peter, 43,511; Radi, 43,383.

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Tapinto Somerville erroneously reported that Peter had been defeated by several thousand votes, based on incomplete returns that were available as of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night.

“I’m still in shock right now,” Peter said Wednesday morning on his way to a tutoring session at the private Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, where he teaches the German language.

“You know what this is to me – Dewey Defeats Truman,” Peter said, a reference to the incorrect banner headline on the front page of the Chicago Daily Tribune published on Nov. 3, 1948, the day after incumbent United States President, Harry S. Truman won an upset victory over Republican challenger and Governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey, in the 1948 presidential election.

Unofficial numbers available late Tuesday showed Radi in the lead with 17,182 votes; Peter had 14,844 votes, but there were numbers from several municipalities that had not yet been reported, according to Peter, who had gathered with other local and county Democrats at their election headquarters on Main Street to monitor the results.

The county Republican ticket was headed by Radi, a former member of the Hillsborough Township Committee. Radi has been County Clerk since 2003; he served as Deputy County Clerk from 1993-2002.

Radi was elected to serve as Somerset County Clerk in 2003 and re-elected in 2008. Prior to that, he served as Deputy County Clerk from 1993 through 2002. He served as Hillsborough Township Municipal Clerk from 1988-91, and was subsequently appointed to serve as the Hillsborough Township Administrator in 1992. He was a member of the Hillsborough Township Committee from 1995-1998 serving as Deputy Mayor in 1996 and Mayor in 1997& 1998.

Updated numbers show Somerville Republican Mayor Brian Gallagher winning his race for Somerset County Freeholder. His running mate, Brian Levine also won his bid for re-election to the three-year term. Levine won with 44,072 votes; Gallagher’s vote total was 43,607. Their opponents were Democrats Shanel Robinson with 41,844 votes and Alex Avellan with 41,817 votes.

Somerville residents also voted for state Senate and state Assembly candidates in the 16th District.

Republican incumbent Christopher “Kip” Bateman, a longtime public servant, who served in the state Assembly from 1994-2008 before he was elected to the state Senate won his race against Democrat Challenger Laurie Poppe, a Hillsborough attorney. Bateman’s vote total was 31,388; Poppe had 29,484 votes.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker won re-election in the 16th District with 31,974 votes as did his Democratic running mate Roy Freiman, a Hillsborough resident and political newcomer. Freiman won with 30,548 votes. Their Republican opponents were former Assemblywoman Donna Simon, who received 28,905 votes, and Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caligure, 28,312 votes.

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