SOMERVILLE, NJ - Longtime Councilman Dennis Sullivan led borough Democrats to a sweep of the local elections Tuesday night, beating GOP Mayor Ellen Brain for a two-year term as mayor by a margin of 2,194 votes to 1,604 votes for Brain.
Democrats also 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.
Incumbent Democrat 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.
Locally, Sullivan’s running mates, Tom Mitchell and RanD Pitts also won by decisive margins over their Republican challengers in Somerville, former Councilman Jason Kraska and Hank Werner.
Thompson received 2,222 votes; Pitts, 2,181 votes; Kraska 1,549 votes and Werner, 1,449 votes.
Sullivan received 57.71 percent of the votes cast for mayor. Brain received 42.19 percent.
In the Borough Council race, Thompson received 30.02 percent, Pitts, 29.47 percent, Kraska, 20.93 percent and Werner, 19.58 percent.
A total of 3,902 votes were cast in Somerville; the borough has 7,048 registered voters, a vote total of nearly 56 percent.
Sullivan will fill out the remaining two years of former Mayor Brian Gallagher’s term. Gallagher resigned last year after winning a seat on the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Brain was appointed to fill the position temporarily in January.
Sullivan won his first election to the Borough Council in 1994; he gave up his council seat to run for mayor in 2003, losing to Gallagher by 3 votes.
Sullivan ran again in November, 2004, was re-elected and has served continuously on the council since 2005.
Suillivan has lived in the borough since 1978, Sullivan also ran unsuccessfully in 2001 and again in 2006 for a seat on the Somerset County Board of Freeholders.
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.
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 affected.
There were seven candidates running for three seats on the Somerville Board of Education. The top three vote-getters were Melissa Sadin (1,490); Dan Carlson, 945 and former board president Norman Chin (838) who lost last year. Finishing fourth in the voting was current board member Dan Puntillo, (811) chief negotiatorfor the school board on the teachers’ contract which has been a contentious issue the past year. The results of that election could be impacted by the mail-in ballots, according to Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter.
In the race for US Senate, Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez received 58,492 votes in Somerset County (2,192 votes in Somerville); Republican challenger Bob Hugin received 52,622 votes in Somerset County (1,493 in Somerville).
In the 7th District Congressional race, Democratic challenger Tom Malinowski received 2,417 votes in Somerville; Lance trailed with 1,320 votes.
Both of the Republican incumbents running for reelection as Somerset County Freeholders were soundly defeated by their Democratic opponents, with Somerville voters supporting the Democratic ticket.
Democrat Robinson, who also ran last year losing by 1,500 votes, received the most votes in the Freeholder election, 59,255 (2,265 in Somerville); Sooy, her running mate, received 57,741 votes (2,212 in Somerville).
Incumbent Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione received 52,280 votes (1,482 in Somerville) and his GOP running mate Mark Caligure, 51,720 votes (1,465 in Somerville).
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 received 1,787 “yes” votes and 1,342 “no” votes in Somerville.
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.