Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski was elected Cranford Democratic Municipal Chairman tonight, defeating Mayor Patrick Giblin by a vote of 26 to 25.
The win gives Kowalski, an strong ally of Union County Democratic Chairman Nicholas Scutari, a vote on the Regular Democratic Organization screening committee when Union County Democrats pick their candidates next year.
Giblin is the son of Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Montclair).
Kowalski replaces John Salerno, who lost his own county committee seat in the June 4 primary election by five votes, 34 to 29, against Chris Chapman.
The vote was by secret ballot.
Nine county committee seats were subject to off-the-line challenges from Democrats for Cranford First (DCF).
In Cranford’s 29th district, former New Jersey Environmental Federation director David Pringle ran off the line and defeated Peter Valenzano by a massive 64 to 18 vote.
The DCF slate picked up a seat in the 1st district, where Robert Pipchick defeated Daniel Gomez Suarez by one vote, 39 to 38.
One race ended up in a tie, with organization candidate Matthew Pillsbury and DCF nominee Mark Bagniewski each receiving eight votes. The municipal clerk declared the 25th district seat vacant.
Salerno’s running mate, Gloria Kelsey, defeated Francesse Chapman by two votes, 32 to 32.
In the 2nd district, Susan Berry held the seat for the organization in a 25 to 20 win over Harriet Mazur.
Michelle Mross kept the 7th district in the hands of the organization, defeating Nancy Kaimowitz by a vote of 32 to 18.
In district 22, Patricia Wilson outpolled DCF candidate Amelia McHugh by six votes, 32 to 26.
Organization candidate Amy Sisk won the 25th district by two votes, 9 to 7, against Jessica Harnden.