Seven municipal seats in Union County flipped in 2022, with Republicans making a one-seat gain across the county after voters in Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Kenilworth, Roselle Park and Summit transferred governing body seats from one party to another.
Union County remains solidly Democratic, with Democrats easily winning three seats on the Board of County Commissioners. That extends their victory streak to 26 years; Republicans have not scored a countywide win in Union since 1995.
In Berkeley Heights, Democratic Mayor Angie Devanney scored a landslide 941-vote plurality, fifteen percentage points win for a second term over Republican Jeffrey Varnerin. Democrat Susan Poage, a former councilwoman, picked up the open seat of retiring GOP Councilman Gentiana Brahimaj; that reduces the Republican council majority to 5-1. A Republican incumbent, Manuel Couto, defeated his running mate, Michelle Bartiromo, by seven votes. Another Democrat, Diomedes Tsitouras, trailed Couto by 38 votes.
A three-term Republican on the Cranford Township Committee, Mary O’Connor, was defeated for re-election. Terrence Curran, a trauma surgeon at Morristown Memorial Hospital who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and as a Jersey City police officer before going to medical school, defeated O’Connor by 327 votes. Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty ran 582 votes in front of the other GOP candidate, Chrissa Stulpin. Curran’s victory gives Democrats a 4-1 majority.
Two of the candidates have ties to Hudson County politics. O’Connor’s late uncle was James P. Dugan, a state senator from Bayonne and New Jersey Democratic state chairman in the 1970s. Curran’s wife is former Jersey City Ward A Councilwoman Kathleen Curran.
Republicans in Kenilworth picked up two borough council seats after a pair of Democrats, Kay Anne Ceceri and Mark David, did not seek re-election. Savino Scorese (1,372) and William Mauro (1,371) defeated Democrats Louis DeMondo (1,094) and Toni Giordano Picerno (1,078). This gives the GOP a 6-0 majority; Mayor Linda Karlovitch, a Democrat, is up for re-election next year.
Two seats switched parties in Roselle Park, where Democratic Mayor Joseph Signorello was re-elected with 56.5% of the vote. In the 3rd Ward, Democrat Rosanna Lyons defeated Republican Councilwoman Jodi Bellomo by 17 votes, 345 to 328. In the race for the open 4th Ward seat, where Democrat Michael Connolly did not seek re-election, Republican Khanjan Patel defeated Democrat Marc Fernandez by 59 votes, 339 to 280.
A Democratic city councilman in Summit was defeated for re-election. Republican Delia Hamlet, a U.S. Army veteran who was deployed to Kuwait after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, ousted one-term Democrat Danny O’Sullivan by 29 votes, 2,220 to 2,191. Hamlet’s election drops the Democratic majority on the city council to 5-2.
Summit is one of New Jersey’s train station towns that has shifted from solid Republican to being a Democratic stronghold; until 2001, Republicans enjoyed an 80-year winning streak at the local level.