Republicans haven’t won a race for Essex County Register of Deeds and Mortgages since 1969 and they haven’t prevailed in an at-large race for freeholder since 1971, but that hasn’t dissuaded two party loyalists from running countywide this year.
Kristina Christoforou, a 31-year-old Republican leader from Caldwell, filed petitions today to run for register and Adam Kraemer, a teacher who ran for the District 4 freeholder seat in 2017, is seeking a one-year unexpired term for freeholder-at-large.
Despite the uphill battle – Essex has 313,802 more Democrats than Republicans – Christoforou and Kramer are doing their party a favor by running.
The Essex County Democratic organization is backing former freeholder Juan Rivera for register and incumbent Romaine Greer for freeholder.
The county register, Dana Rone, is not seeking re-election to a second five-year term. Greer won a special election convention in February to fill the seat of Lebby C. Jones, who died in office in earlier this year. The winner of the November special election will fill the remaining fourteen months of Jones’ term.
Former freeholder Carole Clark is challenging Rivera in the Democratic primary, while former East Orange councilman Dwight Saunders is taking on Greer.
The last Republican register was Hymen B. Mintz, a former assemblyman and freeholder who stepped down in 1974. Mintz ran again in 1979, pledging to immediately eliminate the office if he won. He came within 800 votes of ousting incumbent Larry West Stalks.
Gerardo Del Tufo was the last Republican freeholder-at-large. He has served as an assemblyman in the 1950s, followed by a stint on the Newark Board of Education. He won a State Senate seat in 1967 but gave up his seat four years later to run for freeholder. He lost re-election in 1974.