Kim, Bashaw win primary races for Senate seat

NEW JERSEY. Chris Carney and Alan Henderson leading in races for two seats on the Sussex County Board of County Commissioners, according to unofficial results.

| 06 Jun 2024 | 11:07

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim won his party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, June 4 in New Jersey, setting up a general election contest against wealthy hotel operator Curtis Bashaw, who defeated a Trump-backed candidate for the Republican nomination.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez also will be on the ballot after declaring his intention to run as an independent on Monday, June 3 in the midst of a federal corruption trial. The turmoil surrounding the embattled senator has created the possibility of a headache for Democrats in a state where they haven’t lost an election for Senate since 1972.

Kim, a three-term congressman who launched his campaign after charges against Menendez were announced last year, rose to the top in the state’s dominant political party in a relatively short period.

A former Obama administration national security official, he defeated an incumbent Republican in a 2018 House race and won a court ruling this year that toppled a unique-to-New Jersey system widely viewed as giving political bosses influence on who wins primaries.

Bashaw, a wealthy hotel developer, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money on the campaign to defeat Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, who had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

Incumbents win

President Joe Biden and Trump, already their parties’ presumptive nominees, both won in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Voters also picked House candidates, with some of the most closely watched races having some tie to Menendez.

In the 8th District, U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez, his son, won the Democratic primary over Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

Rob Menendez said Bhalla’s heavy focus on his father showed he was afraid to take on the congressman directly.

Menendez, an attorney and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioner, first won election in 2022, succeeding Albio Sires.

Rep. Tom Kean Jr., R-7, claimed victory over Roger Bacon 23 minutes after the polls closed at 8 p.m., saying, “Tonight’s victory is a testament to our shared vision of a strong, safe and prosperous New Jersey and nation.”

Kean, who was elected to Congress in 2022, will face Democrat Sue Altman in the November election. The 7th District includes all of Hunterdon and Warren counties and parts of Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Union counties. The Sussex County towns in the district are Andover Borough, Byram, Fredon, Green Township, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta, Stanhope, Stillwater and Walpack.

In the 5th District, which includes the rest of Sussex County as well as West Milford in Passaic County, incumbent Josh Gottheimer did not face an opponent in the Democratic primary.

Mary Jo Guinchard won the GOP nomination in the 5th District over George Song.

Sussex County GOP primary

According to unofficial results released by the Sussex County Clerk’s Office just before 11 p.m., incumbent Chris Carney and Lafayette Mayor Alan Henderson, who were running on a slate, were in the lead for two seats on the Board of County Commissioners in the Republican primary.

All members of the board are Republicans.

Carney had 8,386 votes and Henderson had 6,076. In third place, with 4,029 votes, was Earl Schick, who replaced Dawn Fantasia on the board in February.

Sparta lawyer Robert Kovic had 3,161 votes and Byram Councilman Harvey Roseff had 2,333. Kovic and Roseff also ran on a slate.

Voter turnout in Sussex County was about 16 percent.

Nearly three-quarters of the 19,015 ballots cast were in person on Election Day. Mail-in ballots totaled 3,989, and 956 people voted early in person.

In the race for two seats on the Branchville Borough Council, incumbents Russell Bellis Jr. and Troy Orr had 84 and 63 votes, respectively. Melissa Fischer had 55, Keith Whitehead had 47 and Randolph Morse had 28.

In Franklin, incumbents Rachel Heath and Gilbert Snyder had 300 and 299 votes, respectively, followed by Patricia Carnes with 159 votes in the race for two seats on the Borough Council.

In the race for one seat on the Hardyston Township Council, incumbent Carl Miller was leading with 498 votes, compared with 409 for Anthony Alfano.

In Hopatcong, Joseph Falconi and Esad “Steve” Kucevic, running on a slate, had 953 and 913 votes, respectively, compared with 566 and 543 for John Young and Michael Francis, respectively. Young and Francis were running on another slate for two seats on the Borough Council. Incumbents Dawn Roberts and Ryan Smith did not file to run for re-election.

In races for two seats on the Ogdensburg Borough Council, Lynn Lame and Richard Gandarinho, with 160 and 138 votes, respectively, were leading incumbent Kenneth Poyer, who had 89 votes.

In Stanhope, incumbents William Thornton and Tyler Simpson were leading with 260 and 248 votes, respectively, compared with 42 votes for Najib Iftikhar.

In a race for one seat on the Wantage Township Committee, Justin Dudzinski had 846 votes compared with 483 for Marcus Luce.

Passaic County Democrats

Thomas Adamo, chief of the Sheriff’s Office, was leading in unofficial results in the race for the Democratic nomination for county sheriff with 13,402 votes, or about 56 percent, compared with 9,960 for Jerry Speziale, a former sheriff.

They were competing to succeed Sheriff Richard Berdnik, who committed suicide in January.

In races for three seats on the Board of County Commissioners, incumbents Cassandra Lazzara and John Bartlett had 13,971 and 12,584 votes, respectively, according to the unofficial results. Rodney DeVore had 11,885 and Sean Duffy had 10,669.

There were no contested races for the commissioners board or sheriff in the Republican primary.

There also were no contested races for the West Milford Township Council in either primary.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.