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Bernards Township Democratic Municipal Chair Elizabeth Graner and attorney Scott Salmon.

Somerset Dems screening committee suggests Graner, Salmon for Assembly

Somerset Democrats will pick 21st district Senate, Assembly candidates at March 4 convention

By David Wildstein, February 17 2021 11:05 pm

The Somerset County Democratic Screening Committee is recommending Elizabeth Graner and Scott Salmon to receive the organization line for State Assembly in the 21st district when the part holds their convention on March 4.

The panel decided to back Graner, the Bernards Township Democratic Chair, and Salmon, the counsel to Rep. Tom Malinowski’s campaign, to run in the increasingly competitive district, according to an email from Nancy D’Andrea, the secretary of the county Democratic organization, obtained by the New Jersey Globe.

D’Andrea told NJ Globe that the screening committee did not make a decision tonight on the race for State Senate between Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Signorello and Eddie Donnelly, the president of the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.

Five other Democrats are seeking the Assembly nomination: Cranford Mayor Patrick Giblin; National Organization of Women (NOW) New Jersey president Anjali Mehrotra, the Mountainside Democratic municipal chair; Ileana Montes, a former director of the state Division of Women under Gov. Jon Corzine; Harrison Clewell, a former intern for a Hudson County assemblyman; and Bibi Taylor, the Union County Finance Director and former First Lady of East Orange.

Taylor lives in Watchung, one of four Somerset municipalities in the 21st.

Democrats are looking to take advantage of a rare open seat in the 21st triggered by the retirement of six-term State Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr.  Jon Bramnick, a ten-term assemblyman from Westfield, is seeking Kean’s Senate seat.

Republicans have not yet picked a new candidate to run with Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz.

So far, six candidates are already seeking support for Bramnick’s Assembly seat: Summit Republican Municipal Chairman Steve Spurr; New Providence Councilwoman Michele Matsikoudis; Cranford Township Committeewoman Mary O’Connor; Mountainside Councilman Rene Dierkes; Kenilworth Councilman Fred Pugliese; and Carmen Bucco, who won 2% of the vote as an independent candidate for Kenilworth Borough Council in 2020.

Somerset Republicans postponed a vote on the 21st district Assembly seat at their convention on Wednesday night.

Union County Democrats will award their organization line in a screening committee vote set for March.  Morris Democrats have a convention set for next month.

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