SUSSEX COUNTY – Election electricity is in the air, as candidates from the state level, to some municipalities, and even some school boards, are out and about. Campaign signs are aplenty, and along roadsides throughout the county, from the more populated and busy areas, to the more remote rural roadsides.
Candidates are out around-the-clock, placing their signs, meeting constituents at events and around town, participating in radio and live debates and meet the candidate events, attending their own fundraisers, attending others’ fundraisers, and beyond.
The race is fierce this year, with candidates going head to head at all levels.
The foremost race is for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. This race places incumbents, Republican Governor Chris Christie and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno with challengers vying for their seats for the four-year terms — Democratic Candidates Barbara Buono and Milly Silva. The other candidates from independent parties include: Steve Welzer/Patricia Alessandrini, William Arujo/Maria Salamanca, Diane W. Sare/Bruce Todd, Jeff Boss/Robert B. Thorne, Kenneth R. Kaplan/Brenda Bell, and Hank Schroeder/Patricia Moschella.
Next, are the seats up for vote in the Senate and Assembly. In Sussex County is Legislative District 24, which includes all of Sussex County, some of Warren County, and Mount Olive in Morris County.
Another state race that has local pull is for the two-year assembly seats, with two sets of bracketed candidates. Republican incumbents Alison Littell McHose and Parker Space are being challenged for their seats by Bill Weightman and Susan Williams.
Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada, on the Republican ticket, is running for his seat again for a three-year term. No Democratic challenger is opposing him.
For Sussex County Surrogate, a five-year term, Gary Chiusano, who was appointed to the seat at the early part of the year by Governor Chris Christie, and with unanimous approval from the entire house in Trenton, must run to keep his seat. Chiusano came out ahead during the June primary race. In opposition to Chiusano, is Independent Candidate Robert Morris. The Democratic Party did not make any nominations for the seat.
At the municipal levels, there are a number of races happening. For complete information of both the municipal and board of education seats in all of the Sussex County municipalities, click here.
There are some local races that are garnering more notice. One of those is Byram. There are three contenders for the four-year term of mayor. They are: Eskil S. “Skip” Danielson, who had been the township’s mayor previously. Byram Township’s current mayor, Jim Oscovitch, is also running again. Carlos B. Luaces, a Byram Township Councilman, is additionally taking a go for the mayor’s seat.
There are three who are running for one available township council seat in Byram. They include: Marie Raffay, running alongside of Oscovitch under the “Byram Strong. Byram Proud,” slogan. Raffay is currently a councilwoman in the town. Giovanni DiMeo with the “Fiscal Conservatives for Transparent Government,” is Luaces’ running mate. And John M. “Jack” Gallagher, a third candidate, who is running under “The Choice for Change” slogan, shows on a website about himself, support as well for Danielson (who runs under “’For the People’ Not Politics”).
In Franklin Borough are three candidates for two seats, each running for a three-year term: Nicholas Giordano (Republican, and current council member), David M. Fanale (Republican, who was picked at the primary level), and Patricia N. Rowett (Democrat).
In Sparta Township, although there are no municipal candidates, three board of education seats are up, and the candidates are as follows: Kelly Anne McEvoy, Douglas McKernan, Brenda Beebe, Dorothy LaBeau, James Todd Muth, and Keith M. Smith. McKernan is an incumbent candidate. Two of these candidates, Keith Smith, and Dorothy LaBeau, had their terms expire in 2012, and were not re-elected to their seats, then (along with third candidate Ilse Wolfe), losing their seats to Karen M. Scott, Kim Yeomans, and John Surdoval. Beebe, Muth, and McEvoy, are all newcomers to the competition.
Another race of mention is the Vernon Township Council, with three seats up at the four-year term. The team of current council members, Edward Dunn, Dick Wetzel, and Patrick Rizzuto is running together on the team “Continued Progress Reelect Ruzzuto, Wetzel, Dunn.” Jean Murphy with the “For The People,” slogan is another contender, along with Bradley D. Sparta (who has vowed on his Facebook Page he is not putting up campaign signs or writing letters to the editor) under “Working For The Future,” and Sally Rinker, a former mayor of the township, with “Focused on Vernon’s Future.”
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