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Hamilton Republican Municipal Chair Ileana Schirmer. (Photo: Facebook.)

Schirmer wins race for Mercer GOP State Committee seat

Provisional ballots received leave Williams, 184 votes down, without a path to victory

By Nikita Biryukov, June 11 2021 10:56 am

Former Hamilton Councilwoman Ileana Schirmer has won re-election to her post on the Republican State Committee, defeating Trenton Republican Municipal Chairwoman Jennifer Williams.

Schirmer leads Williams by 184 votes, 3,827-3,643. With few votes remaining to tally, Williams’ path toward victory has narrowed into non-existence.

Only 423 provisional ballots were cast in Mercer County. While it’s unclear how many of those were cast by members of each party, there is nothing to suggest those ballots would break overwhelmingly in Williams’ favor — as she would need for a win — nor is it likely there are enough uncounted Republican votes to put her in the lead.

The more of those votes are Democratic, the more difficult it becomes for Williams to erode Schirmer’s lead. Assuming all 423 of the provisional ballots are valid votes cast by Republicans — neither of those things will be true in reality — Williams would need to win 304 votes to secure a one-vote lead.

That’s just under 72% of the remaining ballots, and the numbers only get worse the more ballots are identified as being cast by Democrats.

Schirmer backed Republican State Committee Chairman Michael Lavery, who beat former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin 24-18 in a race to succeed former State Chairman Doug Steinhardt, who resigned to mount a bid for governor he dropped after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Williams supported Hugin, whom Republican gubernatorial nominee picked to lead the Republican State Committee.

Still, the contest for Mercer County’s Republican State Committee seat was a narrow one that included some upsets.

Schirmer won her hometown of Hamilton by just 145 votes, 1,628-1,483. The Trentonian on Wednesday reported Schirmer was stepping down from her post as the town’s Republican municipal chairwoman.

Williams wracked up an advantage in West Windsor, where she led the incumbent by 78 votes, 307-229.

The former councilwoman’s victory will give her another four-year term on the state committee.

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