The unexpected resignation of a Democratic councilman sets up a special election in one of the most politically competitive municipalities in New Jersey.
Kenilworth will have three seat up in November 2020 following the resignation of Councilman Robert Schielke, who left office a few weeks ago.
Schielke told the New Jersey Globe that he was moving to Bridgewater.
“I bought the house next-door to my daughter and my grandchild,” he said.
The Union County borough has a Democratic mayor and a 6-0 Democratic majority on the council, but that shouldn’t fool anyone.
Donald Trump won Kenilworth with 59% of the vote.
Since 2016, Donald Trump, Kim Guadagno, Bob Hugin and Leonard Lance have carried Kenilworth. So have Tom Kean, Jon Bramnick and Nancy Munoz.
Last year, Councilwoman Linda Karlovitch was elected mayor by just seven votes over Republican Salvatore Candarella, a former two-term councilwoman. Democrats just narrowly won two borough council seats; Scott Pentz lost by seven votes, and Sean Pentz finished eleven votes behind his father.
Karlovitch would be positioned to break a tie if the GOP picks up three council seats.
The stakes are up this year: Sheriff Peter Corvelli, a former Kenilworth mayor and the current Democratic municipal chairman, is up for re-election this year.
The Kenilworth Democratic County Committee has 30 days from the time of Schielke’s resignation to submit three names to the borough council to fill his seat.
Both parties have until September 10 to pick candidates to run in a November special election for the remaining fourteen months of Schielke’s term.
Two incumbent councilmen, Lawrence Clementi and Jose Daniel Lopez, are running on the Democratic ticket. Clementi won a
Republicans are running Scott Pentz and Fred Pugliese, who won a special election for mayor in 2014 and the lost his bid for a full term by 61 votes in 2015. Pentz has served twice as a councilman: he was appointed in 2015 but lost a special election that year by 54 votes; he was again appointed to fill a vacancy seat in 2016, but lost the November election by 81 votes.