Shanel Robinson will be the Somerset County freeholder director when county government reorganizes in two weeks and Democrats take control for the first time since 1965.
Democrat Melonie Marano narrowly ousted five-term GOP incumbent Patricia Walsh in last month’s general election, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority on the Board of Freeholders.
Robinson and Sara Sooy defeated two Republican freeholders in 2018.
Sooy will become the deputy freeholder director.
Robinson will become the first non-white freeholder director in Somerset County history. Robinson is African American and Sooy is a Latina.
She will also become the second Democratic women to serve as Somerset freeholder director. The first was Grace Gurisic, who held the post in 1965.
Between Gurisic’s loss to Republican Jack Ewing in 1965 and 2018, Democrats have only won two freeholder races: Frank Nero won a seat in the 1973 Watergate landslide – he didn’t seek re-election to a second term and instead unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Millicent Fenwick for Congress; and Michael Ceponis, who won in 1979 and was unseated by Christine Todd Whitman in 1982.