NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In a battle to earn the third and final spot on the Democratic Party's ticket for open seats on the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Piscataway Council President Ken Armwood defeated Cathy Nicola, a North Brunswick Councilwoman at the party's March 20 convention.
Less than 24 hours later, Armwood resigned from the council job and was sworn in to replace Chris Rafano, the former Freeholder from South River who left office last month to become a judge. Armwood will finish the remaining eight months on Rafano's term while he runs for a full three-year term.
Though it was not necessary to install Armwood so quickly, it will give him the advantage of incumbency in the November 5 election.
Armwood got an early start in electoral politics when he was elected to Piscataway's Board of Education at the age of 19. He is now 37 years old.
Hundreds of elected members of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization participated in the convention to select the party's three candidates for freeholder, where Armwood defeated Nicola.
Paper ballots were used instead of the electronic voting machines normally used for party nominations. And the exact results of the vote were not made public.
Armwood's running mates on the freeholder ticket include New Brunswick's Blanquita Valenti, an incumbent seeking a fourth term on the seven-member board and Charles Kenny, a Woodbridge Councilman running for the first time.
They will face off with the Republican ticket comprised of attorney Jordan Rickards of Milltown, and East Brunswick residents Roger Daley and David Rosenthal. Daley, a recently-retired Superior Court judge served two terms on the freeholder board in the 1990's.
Additionally, at the county level, first-term sheriff Millie Scott of Piscataway will be seeking re-election. Republicans chose Jose Martinez of Monroe to run against Scott.
Scott held the Bible for Armwood, a fellow Piscataway resident, as he was sworn in. Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler was also in attendance for the occasion.
All four county-wide elections will be held alongside elections for state legislative offices and the state governor on November 5.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.