Home>Highlight>Smith says Piscataway voters ‘chose wisely’ in council races

State Sen. Bob Smith. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Smith says Piscataway voters ‘chose wisely’ in council races

Party-endorsed candidates won in three wards, with one race still uncalled

By Joey Fox, June 09 2022 3:29 pm

State Sen. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway) said today that he was pleased with the results of Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Piscataway, in which three party-backed candidates won their council races easily and a fourth holds a narrow lead over her off-the-line challenger.

“Piscataway voters, as they always do, chose wisely,” said Smith, himself a former Piscataway mayor and councilman. 

The three council incumbents who ran for re-election this year – Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, and Michele Lombardi – all won their races in a landslide. But in the open Ward 3 seat, Sharon Carmichael, who had the party line, only leads Staci Berger by 30 votes, 688 to 658. That is almost certainly enough for Carmichael to win, though 75 votes have yet to be counted.

The races drew some attention in April, when Middlesex County Clerk Nancy Pinkin arbitrarily cancelled the county ballot draw despite there being two Democratic slates that could get top ballot position (the Piscataway challengers ran with two county commissioner candidates in order to compete for the preferential spot).  

Berger and her running mates successfully challenged Pinkin’s decision in court, and when Pinkin did finally hold a ballot draw, she drew the off-the-line slate for Column A. But the challengers had to pay their legal fees with money that might have otherwise gone towards campaigning, and a judge’s order that those fees be repaid came too late to help.

Given that the party-endorsed candidates were relegated to Column B, Smith said the outcome of the ballot draw may have impacted the final results.

“It probably helped [the challengers] a little bit, at least in the Third Ward contest,” Smith said. “But at the end of the day, our voters in Piscataway are very smart people. They listen to everything and they read everything, and I think they made very wise decisions.”

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