Democrat Janice Kovach, a hands-on mayor who has been known to empty garbage cans on Main Street over the weekend herself to make the town of Clinton more appealing to tourists and residents, will seek re-election to a fourth term.
“I am proud of the progress we have made in Clinton over the past 11 years,” Kovach said. “We have worked hard to make our town a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I am excited to continue this work and hope to serve the people of Clinton for another term.”
In her announcement, Kovach touted a focus on modernizing the town’s infrastructure, putting Clinton on solid financial footing that has included a budget surplus, and bringing in over $6 million in grant money. She held town hall meetings to discuss plans for a new police station, affordable housing and cannabis.
“I’m excited to continue the work that I do every day whether it is picking up trash in town, assisting a resident, working with my fellow councilmembers to address the needs of our community or working with neighboring mayors to advocate on behalf of all of our communities, for me it is about giving back to a community that has become my extended family,” the mayor said. “I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Clinton for another term.”
Kovach was re-elected in a landslide in 2019, winning 68% of the vote against Martin Pendergast. Republicans have a 4-2 majority on the town council, but it’s not clear if the GOP thinks they can beat Kovach or if any of the sitting councilmembers will take her on.
Clinton has emerged as a swing town in Republican-leaning Hunterdon County with roughly the same number of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Last year, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) won Clinton by six percentage points against Rep.-elect Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield). Jack Ciattarelli caried Clinton by three points against Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021, and Joe Biden won it by seven points in 2020.
A former president of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, Kovach was the Democratic nominee for Congress against Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in 2014. Murphy nominated her to the board of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission and came to Clinton to swear her in after her last re-election.