Union County initiates action to replace deceased Sheriff

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi has set Sept. 10 as the deadline for political parties to file a “letter of selection” naming their candidate to succeed long-time Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, who died July 20 after battling cancer for many months.

County residents also have until Sept. 10 to file nominating petitions to run for the office independent of political party affiliation.

Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union), who is Union County’s Democratic Party chairman, and Mountainside Councilman Glenn Mortimer, who is the GOP leader, said their respective committees will schedule meetings to select candidates prior to the filing deadline.

Green indicated that he has deferred action on identifying candidatees out of consideration for Froehlich’s family.

“I’m trying to be respectful,” Green said. “We’re doing everything humanly possible to let the family know how much we appreciated Ralph Froehlich’s 37 years of service.”

Democrats currently occupy all nine county freeholder seats, as well as the clerk, surrogate and sheriff’s offices.

No Republican has won a countywide election since 1994.

Although Froehlich was in his 13th term in office after winning re-election last year, Rajoppi said state law provides that the candidate elected in November will serve a new three-year term instead of completing Froehlich’s unexpired term.

The state constitution authorizes Gov. Chris Christie to name someone from the Democratic Party to fill the vacancy until a candidate is elected by voters but there are no signs from Trenton that he is contemplating a short term appointee.


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