Bill Parenti has won the Republican nomination for Somerset County Sheriff.
Parenti defeated Tim Pino by just 238 votes out of more than 14,000 cast in last Tuesday’s Republican primary.
With 100% of the votes counted, including all provisional and vote-by-mail ballots, Parenti won, 7,120 to 6,882 – a 50.73% – 49.03% margin.
Parenti’s lead increased today from 226 to 238. The total votes as of last Thursday was 6,981 to 6,755.
He will now face former Franklin Police Lt. Darrin Russo, who easily won the Democratic primary for sheriff.
Contacted on Tuesday afternoon, Pino is refusing to concede.
“We have received calls from numerous voters who experienced what my legal team calling ‘voting irregularities’ that affected their right to vote. We respect the election process too much to let these concerns go unaddressed, so we’re looking into them before we make a final decision on what the campaign should do,” Pino told the New Jersey Globe. “Bill Parenti’s public declaration of winning by 600 votes misled the public and a week later – and almost 400 votes less – and we have a very tight race.”
Parenti, the North Plainfield chief of police, was running on the Republican organization line. Pino, a retired Sheriff’s Department K-9 commander, mounted an off-the-line race allied with Matt Moench, who ousted Bridgewater Mayor Dan Hayes in the GOP primary.
“We won this by a very slim margin,” Parenti said. “I’m looking forward to moving on to November and taking on Darrin Russo.”
Frank Provenzano, the six-term incumbent, is retiring. He endorsed Parenti as his successor.
Russo nearly upset Provenzano in 2016, losing by 1,286 votes (49.6%).