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Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) campaigns for re-election in 2019. (Photo: Facebook.)

Freiman scores big endorsements in Somerset County

Assemblyman seeking organization line for third term in 16th district

By David Wildstein, March 04 2021 10:15 am

In advance of tonight’s Somerset County Democratic Convention, Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) has released some high-profile endorsements as he seeks a re-election to a third term in the 16th legislative district.

Freiman has no real battle tonight, where Somerset Democrats are expected to ratify as deal cut last week by county chair Peg Schaffer to nominate Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) for the State Senate, with Freiman running on the Assembly ticket with former Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer.

Schaffer is on Freiman’s list of endorsements, along with Rep. Tom Malinowski, County Clerk Steven Peter, Sheriff Darrin Russo and four of the five Somerset County Commissioners. He also has the backing of Assemblymen Joseph Egan (D-New Brunswick) and Joseph Danielson (D-Franklin) in the 17th, and Assemblywoman Linda Carter (D-Plainfield) in the 22nd.

“Throughout his nearly four years serving our residents, Roy has continually fought for our needs and supported the 16th Legislative District – now, he must know that we are supporting him,” the Democrats said in a joint statement.

Also endorsing Freiman: Branchburg Democratic Chairman Sivakumar Mathusoodan; Hillsborough Democratic Organization Chairman Bill Dondieggo; Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan; Montgomery Democratic Organization Chairman Paul Blodgett; Somerville Mayor Dennis Sullivan; Somerville Democratic Organization Chairman and Councilman Fred Wied; and Rabbi Arnold Gluck of Temple Beth-El of Hillsborough.

“From advocating for our small businesses during difficult times, to fighting for expanded access to quality health care, to protecting the environment, and making sure seniors can afford to stay in their homes, Roy has been the consistent and resolute voice upon which our residents depend,” the Democrats stated.

Popular with party officials, Freiman won’t have any problem securing the organization line, but he still needs to go through the process.

Schafer cleared the field for Jaffer in Somerset – Hillsborough attorney Laurie Poppe and Somerset Democratic Vice Chair Zenon Christodoulou won’t run – and Flemington Council President Caitlin Giles-McCormick has withdrawn.

Worth watching is how many votes are received by the two Princeton candidates: Councilwoman Michelle Pirone and Dr. Chris Fistonich, a Yale-educated PhD immunologist, cybersecurity analyst and opera singer.  That number will represent the percentage of county committee in the 16th that will do the opposite of what Schaffer tells them to do.

Zwicker will face former Rep. Michael Pappas in the Senate race.  Hunterdon Central Regional Board of Education President Vincent Panico and Manville Councilman Joe Lukac are running as Republicans for Assembly.

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