Hunterdon Review Endorsements for the 2018 Local Elections

In just under two weeks, Hunterdon County, along with the rest of the state and country, will be going to the polls for the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election.   Voters in the Hunterdon Review coverage area will choose candidates for the United States Senate, House of Representatives, Hunterdon County Board of Freeholders, Surrogate, and local mayors, committee and council members, as well as school board candidates.    Everyone should make their choices and get out and vote. And speaking of choices, here are ours:

Here is a round up of those candidates and the seats for which they are running.

Hunterdon County

Freeholder Director J. Matthew Holt, Republican, the only incumbent in the race for two three-year terms on the freeholder board, is running with Republican Susan J. Soloway. Current Republican Freeholder John King chose not to run again due to family commitments. On the Democratic side, Lynne McClintock and Cullen McAuliffe are also running for the two open seats.

Holt has shown the professionalism and leadership over the years that make him worthy of staying in the position, not to mention the institutional knowledge. As long as Holt is the only incumbent running, let’s have a little balance on the board. Our endorsements go to Holt and McAuliffe.

Califon Borough

The only contested race in Califon is for the Califon Borough school district, with Perel “Pearl” Van Elkan, Mike Reaves, and incumbent Jeffrey Dahl are running for two available three-year terms. Our endorsements go to Reaves, who left council for the school board run, and incumbent Jeffrey Dahl.  

Clinton Town

Councilwoman Sherry Dineen and former Councilman Kenneth Carberry, both Republicans, are running for two three-year terms on the Town Council, against Democratic challenger Lisa Intrabartola.

Incumbent Marty Pendergast, Republican, is running for one one-year unexpired term on the council, after having been appointed this year to replace outgoing Councilman Al Rylak, who moved out of the town. Also running for the unexpired one-year seat is Democrat Michael Humphrey.

Our endorsements for council go to Dineen and Intrabartola for the full terms and Pendergast for the unexpired term.

Clinton Township

The township has two available three-year seats on its council. Councilman Thomas Kochanowksi, and fellow Republican Marc H. Strauss, are running against Democratic candidates Michael Lennick and Robert Parkyani. Councilman Dan McTiernan lost to Strauss in the primary.

Our endorsements go to Democrats Lennick and Parkyani, again in the interest of political balance on the council.

Chris W. Kemprowski and Rachel McLaughlin are running for one three-year term on the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Board of Education representing Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough.

No incumbents are running. Our endorsement goes to McLaughlin for her experience on the township school board.

In the local Clinton Township School District, Catherine Mary Emery, Catherine Riihimaki, Regina Figueroa, incumbent Alissa Olawski and Jean Paul “JP” Vincenti are vying for three three-year seats on the Board of Education. Alison Grantham and incumbent Robert Holliday are both running for one one-year unexpired term on the board. Our endorsements go to Emery, Riihimaki and incumbent Olawski for the full terms and Holliday for the unexpired term.

High Bridge Borough

Republican Mayor Mark Desire is running for re-election for one four-year term as mayor against Democrat Michele L. Lee and Independent Brenden Coughlin, running on the “Efficient Innovative Government” line.

Our mayoral endorsement here is an easy one. Desire took over a borough in serious financial trouble and despite more troubles like the sewer dispute with Clinton, has pulled the borough up by its boot straps and pointed it in a more sustainable direction.

Our endorsement goes to Desire to keep it moving.

Councilmen George Columbus and Keir LoIacono, both Republicans, are running for two three-year terms on the Borough Council against Democrats Thomas C. Wescoe and Leigh Ann Moore.

Both Columbus and LoIacono have done good job on council, no need to change crews while the ship is moving ahead. Our endorsements go to Columbus and LoIacono

Lebanon Borough

Republican James Pittinger will face off against Democratic Councilwoman Marlene G. Baldinger for the one four-year term as mayor. Long-time Mayor Michael Reino was defeated by Pittinger in the June primary.

While Baldinger has made a mark as a Democrat on this council, we endorse Pittinger due to his experience in finance and governing.

Councilmen Richard J. Burton and Samuel Berger, both Republicans, are running for two available three-year terms on the Borough Council, against Democrat Benedict F. Valliere.

Burton and Berger have spent years on the council which makes this a tough call. Our endorsement goes to Berger and, for balance, Valliere.

Chris W. Kemprowski and Rachel McLaughlin are running for one three-year term on the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Board of Education representing Clinton Township and Lebanon. No incumbents are running.

Our endorsement goes to McLaughlin for her experience on the township school board.

Lebanon Township

There are no contested races in the township.

Readington Township

Mayor Benjamin A. Smith and R. Jeurgen Huelsebusch, both Republicans, are running for two three-year terms on Township Committee, against Democratic challengers Denise Esakoff and Elizabeth Fiore.

While we have great respect for Smith and Huelsebusch’s work in the township, Readington has needed change for many years to get out some bad old habits mostly regarding litigation, such as the long-standing Solberg Airport dispute. Just time for a change, plain and simple, so our endorsements go to Esakoff and Fiore.

 

Tewksbury Township

Republicans Peter Melick and Dana Desiderio, both incumbents on the Township Committee, are running for re-election for two three-year terms, facing a challenge from Democrat Kelly McKinney-Brakewood, the sole Democratic candidate for the post.

At risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, Tewksbury needs a new voice on the committee, so our endorsements go to McKinney-Brakewood and, for continuity, Melick.