Election 2011: Looking At The Local Races In Union County

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UNION COUNTY – While the state legislative races at the top of the ballot are getting most of the attention that is being devoted to this year’s election contests, a number of local offices are also on the ballot. Voters in Summit, Kenilworth and Fanwood have contested mayoral races, and most communities will elect one or more members to their municipal council or township committee.

There’s a three-way race for mayor in Summit, between Democrat Eileen Forman Ludden, Republican Ellen Dickson and independent candidate Mike Vernotico. Mayor Jordan Glatt, the first Democratic mayor in city history, decided not to seek re-election.

Dickson is a Councilwoman representing the city’s First Ward. Ludden, is a business strategist and community organizer. Varnotico, who considers himself a moderate Republican, is a councilman representing the city’s Second Ward and former Millburn mayor. All three candidates are pushing for more share services with neighboring towns to reduce costs and more downtown development to boost the city’s tax base.

There are also three seats on the City Council at stake. Democrat Susan D. Hairston matches up against Republican Gregory Drummond for the at-large seat, while Democrat Sandra P. Bloom faces Republican Robert Rubino for a seat representing the First Ward. Democrat A. Dennis White is vying against Republican Patrick J. Hurley to represent the Second Ward.

Kenilworth voters also have a three-candidate race for mayor. Incumbent Republican Kathi Fiamingo is being challenged by Democrat Peter Corvelli and independent candidate Walter Sosnosky.

Fiamingo was honored by the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce as its Mayor of the Year for promoting open government. Corvelli made a previous unsuccessful bid against Fiamingo in 2007, but won a spot on the Borough Council last year. Sosnosky, husband of former Republican Councilwoman Toni Sosnosky, is the first independent candidate to run for office in Kennilworth in years.

Kenilworth voters will also choose two Borough Council members. Democrats Anthony DeLuca and Kay Anne Ceceri face Republicans Scott Klinder and Toni K. Giordano. Klinder is the only incumbent.

Fanwood Republican Committee Chairman Joe Britt is vying to unseat Democrat Colleen Mahr for the mayor’s office. Mahr points to accomplishments such as saving more than $240,000 by sharing emergency services dispatch with Union County and the borough’s response to Hurricane Irene as reasons that she and her council running mates should get Fanwood residents’ votes. Britt, a former director of the state Division of Elections, says that competition for public office is essential for a healthy American democracy.

Two council positions are also on the ballot: Democrats Russell Huegel and Kevin Boris face Republicans Jason Benedict and Nicole Cole. Huegel is an incumbent.

In Roselle, a slate of Democrats in unchallenged. Jamel Holley is running for mayor; for council, Yves Aubourg is running in the First Ward and Randy Sandifer is running in the Third Ward. Holley won a bitter three-way race in the Democratic primary in June, defeating incumbent Mayor Garrett Smith and challenger Joseph O’Halloran.

In Mountainside, Republican Mayor Paul N. Mirabelli and council members Keith C. Turner and Deanna Andre are unopposed in their re-election bids.

Four Ward Council seats are at stake in Linden. Fourth Ward Councilman Derek Armstead, a Democrat, faces a challenge from independent candidate Waliyy Dixon. Sixth Ward Councilman Robert Sadowski, also a Democrat, faces independent candidate Diane A. Wilverding. Eighth Ward Councilwoman Michele Yamakaitis, a Democrat, faces independent candidate Dulce Lopes. Tenth Ward Councilman Richard Puschel, a Democrat, is being challenged by independent candidate Adam Kucynski.

Berkeley Heights
Berkeley Heights has two township council positions on the ballot. Democrats Stephen H. Yellin and Jamie Divine-Cadavid face Republicans Robert Woodruff and Jeanne Kingsley. Woodruff is an incumbent. Councilwoman Elaine Perna announced her retirement shortly before the GOP primary.

Two positions on Cranford’s Township Committee are on the ballot. Democrats Daniel J. Aschenbach and Thomas Hannen Jr. face Republicans Andis Kalnins and Lisa Adubato Nesi. Aschenbach, who was elected by the committee to serve as its chairman and Cranford’s mayor at the beginning of this year, is the only incumbent.

Garwood voters will select two members of the borough council. Democrats Louis Petruzzelli and Sara Todisco are being challenged by Republicans Carol A. Kearney and Steven C. Blaufeder for their seats.

Hillside has non-partisan races for council seats representing each of the township’s four wards. In the First Ward, Councilman Edward A. Brewer Jr. is being challenged by Tonia D. Hobbs, George L. Cook III and Jeffrey Dykes. Christopher Mobley, Queen Trotman and Salonia Saxton Thompson are vying for the Second Ward seat. In the Third Ward, Joseph Puglise and Donald DeAugustine are seeking the position. In the Fourth Ward, Gerald Pateesh Freedman faces a challenge from Diane L. Murray.

New Providence
In New Providence, a Republican slate of Bob Robinson, Armand Galluccio and Alan G. Lesnewich is unopposed. All three are running for council positions; Lesnewich will fill the remainder of an unexpired term.

Plainfield has two City Council Positions on the ballot. Councilwoman Vera Greaves, a Democrat, is unopposed in her bid to represent the First and Fourth Wards. Second Ward Councilman Cory Storch, also a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican William H. Michelson.

Roselle Park
Roselle Park has three council positions on the ballot. Democrat Carl A. Hokanson is being challenged by Republican Glen C. Costello for his position as the borough’s Councilman-At-Large. Representing the First Ward, Democrat Eugene Meola Jr. is opposed by Republican Andrew Casais. Republican Marc P. Caswell is unchallenged in his re-election bid to represent the Second Ward.

Republican Ziad Andrew Shehady is trying to unseat Democrat Hugh Keffer, currently serving as Springfield’s mayor, to win a spot on the Township Committee.

In Union, Democrat Joseph Florio matches up against Republican Matthew P. Kurinzi for a seat on the Township Committee. Florio is currently leading the committee and serving as Union’s mayor.

Westfield has four Township Council seats at stake, one representing each ward. First Ward Councilman Frank Arena, a Republican, matches up against Democratic challenger Timothy D. Van Epp. Republican Second Ward Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan is unopposed in her re-election bid. Republican Third Ward Councilman Mark LoGrippo is being challenged by Democrat Matthew Sontz and independent candidate Gregory W. Kasko. Democrat Gregory Romer is trying to unseat Republican Fourth Ward Councilman James M. Foerst.

In Winfield, Republican Bob Reilly is trying to win a seat on the Township Committee from Democrat Oneida M. Braithwaite.

Clark, Elizabeth, Rahway, and Scotch Plains have no local elections this year.

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