Local Democrats Face Off in Freeholder Election

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Today, June 3, Middlesex County residents will vote in primary elections, but there will be few choices on the ballots for either party.

In the primary election of the Democratic Party, which unaniomously controls the county's Board of Chosen Freeholders, voters will choose between three candidates seeking two open seats on the seven-member board.

Incumbent Freeholders Charles Tomaro and Carol Barrett will be running against political newcomer Jay Mody. 

While Mody lacks experience in Middlesex County government, he worked for the state Department of Environmental Protection and has experience serving on volunteer government boards in Piscataway, his hometown of nearly four decades. 

Barrett currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Board of Freeholders, worked to bring about greater union representation.

Having served an array of municipal posts, such as the South Brunswick City Council and the South Brunswick Zoning Board, she is currently seeking her third term in the Board of Freeholders.

Charles Tomaro, the other Democratic candidate, also boasts a long and impressive list of accomplishments.

Having served various posts within Edison municipal government and the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, Tomaro championed a number of infrastructure and public safety initiatives.

He has been on the Board of Freeholders since 2011, when he was chosen by Democrats to replace Piscataway's Mildred Scott, who asceneded to become Sheriff.  Later that year, he was elected to a full three-year term.

By contrast, Mody is running for elected office for the first time.

Mody served on the Piscataway Zoning Board for 15 years, the Planning Board for two years, and the TV Advisory Committee for four years, according to a report in the Home News Tribune.

Mody, running as a "Progressive Democrat," told the Home News Tribune that he hopes to repair and develop the county road system.

"My 30-plus years of service to the Department of Environmental Protection as an engineer along with my master’s degree in engineering from NJIT give me overwhelming amount of experience to deliver on this key duty", Mody also told the paper.

Despite his ambitions, Mody still finds himself in a tough match against the two Board of Freeholder incumbents, who enjoy the support of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization.

Tomaro and Barrett are expected to win handily due to superior name recognition, a steep fundraising advantage, and being grouped with other incumbent Democrats running for other offices, including New Mayor Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill.

According to campaign finance records, Barrett and Tomaro have raised a combined $217,075, and spent $197,696.  Mody did not submit any finance reports that indicated donations to his campaign, which has gone on quietly.

Two Republican candidates for the Board of Freeholders, Richard F. Greene and Stephanie Bartfalvi, will be running unopposed in the primaries.

The winners of the primaries will face off with each other, and any other candidates that submit petitions to run by 4pm tomorrow.

Reporter at New Brunswick Today

Award-winning, multimedia journalist with experience in digital first and print-media. Daniel has covered local, state and regional issues, and utilized photography, social media and has written in-depth articles to produce high-quality work.