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Union County Surrogate James LaCorte was first elected in 1999

LaCorte blows past McCormick in Union Surrogate primary

Scutari’s freeholder slate wins easily

By David Wildstein, June 05 2019 2:17 am

Union County Surrogate James S. LaCorte won a landslide victory for renomination to a fifth term in the Democratic primary, defeating perennial candidate Lisa McCormick by a 65%-35% margin.

LaCorte won by 4,302 votes and was the top vote-getter in Union County.

Three incumbent freeholders backed by State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) coasted to primary wins in a field nine candidates.

Rebecca Williams (9,251), Bette Jane Kowalski (9,098), and Sergio Granados (8,752) defeated three candidates running on a slate aligned with Linden Mayor Derek Armstead: Wilma Campbell (4,608), Sylvia Turnage (4,195) and Alex Lospinoso (4,195).

A slate allied with Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr finished far behind: Lorraine McNeal (2,443), Anthony Esposito (2,245) and Jack Molenaar (2,177).

The four Democrats are heavily favored to win the general election.  Republicans have not won a countywide election in Union County since 1995 and have not won a race for Surrogate since 1978.

LaCorte was elected in 1999 following the death of Ann Conti.  He defeated former Republican freeholder Linda Lee Kelly by a 55%-45% margin

He is the son of the late Nicholas LaCorte, the last Republican mayor of Elizabeth.  He served from 1953 to 1955 and was elected as a Republican to the State Senate in 1967.

In 1977, LaCorte ran for State Assembly in the Elizabeth-based 21st district when Linden mayor John Gregorio gave up his seat to run for the state senate.  The top vote-getter in the Democratic primary was attorney Raymond Lesniak (9,353).  Four-term incumbent Thomas Deverin (D-Carteret) finished second, running 492 votes behind Lesniak and 3,561 votes ahead of LaCorte.

LaCorte was unopposed when he ran in 2014 and won 56% against Republican Arthur Zapolski in 2009.

Conti won the post in a 1982 special election after Republican Surrogate Walter Ulrich resigned to join the Kean administration.  She defeated former freeholder Rose Marie Sinnot by 2,974 votes.

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