Home>Campaigns>Party-backed Howell council candidates win GOP nod. Next step is appellate court

Fred Gasior in a virtual Superior Court hearing about his campaign in April 2022. (Photo: New Jersey Globe).

Party-backed Howell council candidates win GOP nod. Next step is appellate court

By David Wildstein, June 08 2022 12:18 am

In the Republican primary for three seats on the Howell Township Council, three organization-backed candidates,  Fred Gasior, Susan Fisher and Ian Nadel have defeated off-the-line challenger Michael Bernstein.

Bernstein, who ran on his own as the Howell First candidate, trails by roughly 1,460 votes.

But with a court fight set to begin on Frida, this race might not be over.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen Sheedy allowed Gasior, Fisher and Nadel to merge their petitions into one after they were circulated in order to qualify for the ballot.  Local Democrats have filed an appeal.

Appellate Court Judge, Hany A. Mawla, who had initially stayed the lower court judge’s decision, decided in April to order briefing to begin on the ballot challenge to begin on June 10 – three days after the primary.  That opens the door to a do-over of the primary unless the judge has already made up his mind.

Democratic Councilman John “Bon” Bonevich is seeking re-election and ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on a slate with Randy Bishop and Denise King.

Two Republican councilwomen, Pamela Raymond and Suzanne Brennan, are not running this year.

The lawsuit filed by a Howell Democrat, John Hughes, alleges that Gasior and Fischer failed to garner enough signatures to get on the ballot.

The issue is whether Gasior and Fischer, along with Nadel, can consider their petitions to have been filed jointly.  Democrats claimed they cannot since the petitions were not circulated with each name.  The acting municipal clerk, Allison Ciranni, approved the petitions.

Gasior originally submitted 50 signatures and Fischer 52; in each case, enough were determined to be invalid to push them below the required 50 signatures.  Nadel, turned in 80 and had enough to make the ballot.

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