NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Unofficial election results from the November 7 general election signal that Democrats will maintain full control of the Middlesex County government, as well as local governments in Edison, Woodbridge, North Brunswick, Plainsboro, Carteret, Metuchen, and Highland Park.
County Commissioners Charles Tomaro, of Edison, and Leslie Koppel, of Monroe Township, appear to have won re-election to the Board of County Commissioners.
That news comes on top of apparent Democrat victories at the state level, where results show Democrats gaining several seats in the legislature. Plus, about two-thirds of the winners in contested Board of Education races here in the county are registered Democrats.
However, Republicans appear to have completed electoral takeovers of local governments in Sayreville, South River, and Dunellen, electing Mayors in all three towns while maintaining a lock on South Plainfield and Middlesex Borough, where Democrats didn’t even bother to run for office this year.
Republican candidates also appear to have won Mayoral contests Old Bridge and Jamesburg. While the Milltown Mayor election is still too close to call, Republican George Murray holds a 39-vote lead over incumbent Democrat Trina Jensen Mehr.
In at least one town where Democrats prevailed, Republicans seem to be gaining ground. Longtime Woodbridge Mayor Jon McCormac appears to have secured another term, defeating a salon owner named John Vrtaric.
Eight years earlier, when the same two men faced off in the 2015 race, Mayor McCormac won 83%-17%. In 2019, McCormac defeated a different Republican, 74%-26%.
This year, McCormac leads Vrtaric 66%-34%.
Democrats held onto all of their state legislative seats here with one exception: The outgoing Republican Mayor of Old Bridge, Owen Henry, will now ascend to the office of State Senator, taking over for a longtime Republican who was so angered by Mayor Henry’s intraparty challenge that he switched to the Democratic Party.
State Senator Sam Thompson ultimately dropped out of the race, and Henry will take over for him in January, becoming the newest Senator from Middlesex County and marking the end of a lengthy career for Thompson.
In their hometown, Republican Councilwoman Debbie Walker is leading the race to succeed Henry, overpowering Democrat Councilwoman Jill DeCaro 57%-43% thus far.
DeCaro will keep her seat representing the Fourth Ward on the nine-member Old Bridge Township Council, where there is only one other Democrat.
Likewise, Monroe Township Third Ward Councilman Charles DiPierro will keep his Council seat after vying to upset incumbent Democrat Mayor Steve Dalina and coming up short.
DiPierro trails Dalina 62%-38%, and appears destined to remain the sole Republican on the five-member governing body. Like DeCaro in Old Bridge, he has two more years left on the term of his ward-based Council seat.
Not every town was a clean sweep. In Jamesburg, Republicans won the Mayor’s seat, but didn’t have any candidates on the ballot for the two openings on the Borough Council.
Democrats Thomas Goletz and Bertin Lefkovic appear to have won those seats, while their running mate, Mayor Marlene Lowande, trails Republican Thomas Gibbons 57%-42%.
In Cranbury, only one seat on the Township Committee was on the ballot, and 47 votes separate the Democrat and Republican, with Democrat Matthew A. Scott in the lead.
The Middlesex County Board of Elections say they intend to certify the results of the election on November 20, after counting additional mail-in and provisional ballots.
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, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.