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Hillsborough Council candidate Erry Murphy. (Photo: Errryn Murphy).

Judge rejects Hillsborough recount bid

By David Wildstein, December 19 2022 5:19 pm

A Superior Court judge has turned down a request for a recount of the Hillsborough Township Committee race because the Democratic candidate who lost by 46 votes was unable to show evidence that a hand tally might produce a different result.

Democrat Erryn Murphy lost a race for a 26-month unexpired term to Republican incumbent Robert Britting, 7,473 to 7,427, a margin of three-tenths of one percent.

The state attorney general opposed Murphy’s request for a recount and had the director of the Somerset County Board of Elections, Jerry Midgette, testify.  Last week, the state supported a recount in Raritan Borough, where seven votes separated two candidate, even though 7 votes in Raritan and 46 in Hillsborough are similarly close.

“The only competent, credible, scientific or factual evidence presented to the court is from the board and I find that that evidence supports the board’s position to oppose the recount,” the Somerset County assignment judge, Kevin Shanahan, said.  “You have to have sufficient, competent, credible evidence showing there’s a reason to believe the error was made in the tabulation.  And then if you get there, then the evidence has to suggest that it would it would sustain a successful recount.”

Britting was appointed in March after Republican Steve Cohen, the winner of the 2021 general election, resigned for personal reasons.

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