UNION COUNTY, NJ -- In an election notable for its low turnout -- 18 percent, according to Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, who easily won reelection on Tuesday -- the Democrats were the big winners in the Union County Freeholders, 22nd NJ Legislative District, and Fanwood Borough races.
Newcomers did well locally. Although far from a political novice, Jim Kennedy, the former mayor of Rahway, will return from the private sector and represent the 22nd Legislative District in the NJ Assembly. Kennedy, who replaced Linda Stender as Jerry Green's running mate following her NJ Shore House controversy, outpolled his Assembly candidates -- Green and Republicans Bo Vastine and William Michelson -- in Fanwood, Scotch Plains and countywide.
In the voting for Scotch Plains Board of Education, Tonya Williams was the top vote-getter in her first run for BOE. She and her fellow candidates, incumbents Dr. Karen Kulikowski and Betty Anne Woerner, ran unopposed.
In Fanwood, Mayor Colleen Mahr was elected to a record fourth term. She ran unopposed, as did her fellow Democratic candidates Jack Molenaar and newcomer Erin McElroy-Barker.
Al Mirabella, a Fanwood resident who also serves as the Scotch Plains Township Manager, won reelection to his Union County Freeholder position, along with his running mates Mohamed S. Jalloh and Bruce H. Bergen.
At the Democratic victory party held at L'Affaire in Mountainside, Jerry Green celebrated his party's expected County wins, along with big upsets in Summit.
"We will do wonders in Trenton especially when we have a new President and get rid of Chris Christie," said the 76-year-old Green, who has represented the 22nd Legislative District since 2002 and served as the Assembly's Speaker Pro Tempore since 2008.
In his victory speech, Freeholder Al Mirabella thanks Scotch Plains and his running mates.
"It is wonderful to walk door-to-door and talk with the people of Union County," said Mirabella, who campaigned hard right up until Election Day despite his incumbent status.
"I never take anything for granted," Mirabella told TAPintoSPF.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood Local races (*totals unofficial)
Union County Freeholder (three-year term)
Alexander Mirabella (D)
Mohamed S. Jalloh (D)
Bruce H. Bergen (D)
Union County Clerk (five-year term)
Joanne Rajoppi (D)
Fanwood Mayor (four-year term)
Colleen Mahr (D) 822 votes
Fanwood Borough Council (three-year term)
Jack Molenaar (D) 756 votes
Erin McElroy-Barker (D) 775 votes
Scotch Plains Board of Education (three-year term)
Tonya Williams 1,559 votes
Karen Kulikowski 1,520 votes
Betty Anne Woerner 1,461 votes
NJ Assembly (22nd Legislative District)
Jim Kennedy (D) 11,399 votes
Jerry Green (D) 11,098 votes
Bo Vastine (R) 7,684 votes
William Michelson (R) 7,284 votes