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County Voters to Replace a Dozen Officials Who Left Office Early

In Addition to Regular Elections, Voters Also Decide Who Will Fill Vacant Seats in NJ Legislature, Six Town Councils, and Four Boards of Education
Peter Barnes
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EDISON, NJ—Democrat State Senator Peter Barnes' departure from the Legislature has caused three different elections to be held to decide who will finish so-called "unexpired" terms left after elected officials got promoted to higher office.

It all started with Barnes securing a Superior Court judgeship, thanks to an appointment to the bench from Republican Governor Chris Christie.

But that is just one of a dozen local offices where candidates are running for partial terms.

Under NJ state law, openings for all elected offices are filled by voters ultimately, but first the political party that the outgoing official belonged to gets a chance to appoint a temporary replacement.

In this case, it set off a chain reaction with Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan leaving that position to take Barnes' old job, and Edison Councilman Robert Karabinchak taking Diegnan's spot.

Meanwhile, Karabinchak's seat on the Council was filled temporarily by Joseph Coyle.  All three of the temporary appointees--Diegnan, Karabinchak, and Coyle--will have to win in the November 8 election to keep their seats.

Similar shake-ups are in store for Ward 4 in Woodbridge Township, where a newly-appointed Councilman Viru Patel will have to run to keep his seat, as well as parts of Old Bridge and Monroe Township.

Replacement elections for "unexpired terms" will also see contested races in Carteret and Helmetta.

Here are all of the matchups in Middlesex County elections to fill "unexpired" terms at the local and state level:

STATE SENATOR - 18TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

Peter Barnes resigned to beocme a Judge.  There is one year left in this "unexpired" term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (Democrat)
  • Roger W. Daley (Republican)

STATE ASSEMBLY - 18TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

Patrick Diegnan resigned to replace Barnes in the State Senate.  There is one year left in this "unexpired" term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • Robert Karabinchak (Democrat)
  • Camille Ferraro Clark (Republican)

EDISON TOWNSHIP COUNCIL
Robert Karabinchak resigned from the Council to replace Diegnan in the State Assembly.  There are three years left in this "unexpired" term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • Joe A. Coyle (Democrat)
  • Gaetano V. Gaspari (Republican)

WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL (WARD 4)
James Major resigned on August 9, and the Woodbridge Township Council immediately voted to replace him with Viru Patel, who was sworn in on August 14.  There is one year left on the "unexpired" term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • Virbhadra Patel (Democrat)
  • Amarasena Anura Rupasinghe (Republican)
  • Nutan Kalamdani (Nutan for Change)

OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL (WARD 3)
Councilman Reginald Butler died and the Council selected Democrat June Dungee on June 27.  There is one year left on this "unexpired" term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • June Dungee (Democrat)
  • Frank Weber

MONROE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL (WARD 2)
Gerald Tamburro resigned as Councilman on December 31, 2015 after he was elected Mayor.  Blaise DiPierro was appointed to replace him on January 12.   There is one year left on this "unexpired" term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • Blaise DiPierro (Democrat)
  • Martin Herrmann (Republican)

CARTERET BORO COUNCIL
Cassandra Achille, an official at the Middlesex County Clerk's Office failed to respond to multiple inquiries about who left the Carteret Boro Council to create this opening. There are two years left in this unexpired term.

Candidates on the ballot will be:

  • Ajmar Johal (Democrat)
  • Jaswinder Singh (Republican)

There are also seats opening up on four Middlesex County school boards, thanks to people leaving the office early, but only one of the races will be contested.

CARTERET BOE - 1 SEAT

Cassandra Achille, an official at the Middlesex County Clerk's Office failed to respond to multiple inquiries about who left the Carteret Board of Education to create this opening.    There is 1 year left in this unexpired term.

  • Hardyal S. Johal (Cooke Avenue)
  • Gregory C. Setar (Bernard Street)
  • Arvinder Singh (Donovan Avenue)

HELMETTA BORO COUNCIL
Councilman Brian Hackett resigned on April 11, and the Council selected Republican Noreen Carolan on April 28.  Hackett had been appointed to replace Yvette Bruno. There is one year left on the "unexpired" term.

Carolan is the only candidate on the ballot, running as an independent under the moniker "Aligning Helmetta's Future."

Races for unexpired terms on the East Brunswick and South Amboy Boards of Education will go uncontested with only one candidate each running.

Meanwhile, no one at all filed to run for a 1-year unexpired term on the Dunellen Board of Education, which means whoever receives the most "write-in" votes in today's election will be invited to join the board if they are eligible.