SOMERVILLE, NJ - Democratic incumbents Jane Kobuta, Granville Brady and Roger Vroom III easily won reelection against their Republican challengers in Tuesday's elections, with Democratic Mayor Dennis Sullivan, running unopposed, the top-vote getter in the Borough Council race.
Races for Somerset County Freeholder and the 16th Assembly District were very close, with the winners not expected to be declared until next week. Preliminary results show:
Incumbent Somerset County Freeholder Patricia Walsh lost her bid for a fourth term, losing to Democratic challenger Melonie Marano, who had faced off against Walsh and lost in 2007. The losing margin was 250 votes, with Marano receiving 34,652 votes, 50.16 percent and Walsh, 34,402 votes. 49.8 percent. There were 31 write-in votes.
If it holds up, Marano's victory will give Democrats a 3-2 edge over the Republicans on the Board of Chosen Freeholders; she would also be the third female on the board, joining Democrats Sara Sooy and Shanel Robinson. Republican freeholders are Brian Levine and Brian Gallagher. When sworn to office next year, Marano, Sooy and Robinson would represent the first Democratic majority on the board in over 50 years.
Darrin Russo, retired Franklin Township police lieutenant and Democratic candidate for Somerset County Sheriff, defeated North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti, the Republican candidate, by a vote of 35,886 to 33,423, a 51.68 to 48.1 percent margin. There were 135 write-in votes. Parenti had been endorsed by outgoing Sheriff Frank Provenzano, who is retiring after 18 years.
A total of 559 votes separates the 4 candidates in the race for two seats in the 16th Assembly District in Somerset County. The district also includes towns in Middlesex, Mercer and Hunterdon counties. The vote totals in those three counties are not included.
In Somerset County, Democratic incumbent Andrew Zwicker, seeking his third term, totaled 11,148 votes (25.8 percent); his running mate, Hillsborough resident Roy Freiman, seeking his second term in the Assembly, trailed Republican challenger Mark Caliguire in Somerset County, with Caliguire receiving 10.739 votes (24.86 percent) to Freiman's 10,699 votes (24.76 percent). Caliguire's GOP running mate, Christine Madrid, received 10,589 votes (24.51 percent).
The results are unofficial pending the addition of mail-in ballots which are to be counted by early next week, according to Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter.
In Somerville, Sullivan received 1,801 votes, Kobuta, 1.534, Brady, 1,498 and Vroom, 1,448. The Democrats will retain a 6-0 majority on the Borough Council.
Republican challengers Hank Werner received 1.044 votes, Paul Cataldi, 949 and Mario Haddad, 985.
There were three candidates running unopposed for three seats on the Board of Education, incumbents Linda Olson, 1,513 votes; Luc Sergile, Jr., 1,315 votes and William Kimmick, 1,227 votes.
In Somerville, Walsh received 888 votes, while Marano received 1,299 votes.
Russo came out on top in Somerville with 1,365 votes; Parenti received 849 votes.
Incumbents Zwicker Freiman topped their Republican challengers in Somerville in the 16th District Assembly race. Zwicker received 1,376 votes and Freiman, 1,325 votes. Caliguire, totaled 855 votes and Christine Madrid, 835 votes.
This story will be updated with complete Somerset County vote totals as they become available.