SOMERVILLE, NJ - Borough Democrats are more than confident that when the polls close Tuesday night and the votes are counted, Mayor Dennis Sullivan will be reelected.
The elder statesman of the Borough Council, with 24 years of public service from 1995-2003 and 2005-2019 and most recently as mayor, is running unopposed; borough Republicans did not field a candidate to run against the retired school teacher.
Sullivan heads a Democratic ticket that features three candidates for Borough Council: incumbent Councilwoman Jane Kobuta, retired executive director of the Somerset Valley YMCA and owner of JCK Services, which provides bookkeeping for small businesses, first elected in 2005; incumbent Borough Council president Granville Brady, an audiologist with a practice in East Brunswick, who served in the 1990s and was elected again three years ago, and Roger Vroom III, principal at South Plainfield Middle School who was appointed to the Borough Council by the Democratic majority in December, 2018 to fill out an unexpired term.
The three Republican candidates opposing the incumbents are Hank Werner, a retired police officer and chairman of the Somerville Police & Pedestrian Safety Committee who ran unsuccessfully for the Borough Council in 2018; Paul Cataldi, an Army veteran and senior customer development specialist at Johnson&Johnson and Mario Haddad, who has worked in various capacities at the United Nations in New York City.
Also on the ballot are races for Somerville Board of Education, Somerset County Freeholder, Somerset County Sheriff and the 16th Assembly District.
Both parties in Somerville have run knock-on-the-door, hand-shaking grass roots campaigns, with hundreds of lawn signs planted on front lawns and campaign literature distributed door-to-door.
The Democrats' literature asks voters to "Re-elect the team with a plan," touting infrastructure improvements, enhanced public safety, economic vitality and a stable tax rate.
"Some say Somerville just isn't the same. They're right. It's better than ever," is another message delivered by the Democratic candidates. "Today, people can't wait to move to Somerville. Together, vibrant neighborhoods and a thriving downtown have created a successful combination that brought Somerville back to life."
Literature distributed by the three Republican candidates promise "the vision and enthusiasm of a new generation of leaders will make Somerville prosper . . . you can cast your vote for the status quo or for positive progress for the next decade."
Three candidates filed with the Somerset County Board of Elections in July to run for three, 3-year terms on the Somerville Board of Education: longtime school board members Linda Olson, 198 W. Summit St., and Luc Sergile, 46 Steele Ave. Olson has served as president while Sergile has been board vice-president. Also filing was William Kimmick, 56 Sycamore St., who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board in the 2018 school board election.
Bill Parenti, Chief of Police in North Plainfield, will face off against Democrat Darren Russo, a retired Franklin Township police lieutenant in the race for Somerset County Sheriff. Russo ran unsuccessfully against retiring Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano three years ago, losing narrowly by 600 votes. Provenzano has endorsed Parenti as his successor.
Somerset County Deputy Freeholder Director Pat Walsh, who has served on the board since 2008, will be running against Democrat Melonie Marano, who, like Walsh, is a former Green Brook mayor.
Walsh and Marano faced off in the 2007 Freeholder race, won by Walsh.
Running unopposed for reelection in the 16th Assembly District are Democrat incumbents Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, seeking his third two-year term and Assemblyman Roy Freiman, seeking his second two-year term.
The GOP candidates for 16th District Assembly seats are former Montgomery mayor and Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, who ran unsuccessfully against Freiman for Assembly two years ago, and former Montgomery mayor Christine Madrid. Caliguire also served as mayor of Montgomery before he was elected to the Board of Freeholders.
Voters will also be asked to approve a constitutional amendment that will affect property tax deductions for veterans:
New Jersey Public Question 1, the Property Tax Deduction for Veterans Extended to Continuing Care Retirement Communities Amendment, is on the ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment:
A "yes" vote supports this constitutional amendment to:
- extend th $250 property tax deduction that veterans receive to continuing care retirement centers on behalf of the veterans living there and
- require the retirement centers to pass the value of the deduction to veterans in the form of credits or payments.
A "no" vote would thus
- continue to provide the $250 property tax deduction to veterans who are property owners or stockholders in a housing cooperative but
- excluding continuing care retirement centers from receiving the deduction on behalf of veterans living there and passing the value of the deduction on to veterans.
Polling places open at 6 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.
Polling Places in Somerville:
District 1: Somerville Senior Citizen Building, 1 Mountain Ave.;
District 2: West End Fore Company, 135 West High St.;
District 3: Somerville High School, 221 Davenport St.;
Districts 4 & 6: Good Shepard Lutheran Church, 300 Union Ave.;
District 5: Engine Company No. 1, 170 E. Main St.;
Dstricts 7 & 9: Van Derveer School, 51 Union Ave.;
District 8: Lincoln Hose Co., 24 Warren St.