The Somerset County Education Association has endorsed County Commissioners Shanel Robinson and Sara Sooy for re-election to second terms.
“Robinson and Sooy have shown that their passion, work ethic, and problem-solving skills are what will continue pushing Somerset County forward,” the group said in a statement released by the Somerset County Democratic Committee.
Their GOP opponents, Bridgewater Councilman Michael Kirsh and Warren Township Board of Education member Amber Murad, said that the endorsement won’t stop them from working to improve the quality of education in Somerset County.
“Michael Kirsh and I were happy to compete for the SCEA endorsement. We are not deterred by the endorsement of our opponents,” said Murad. “As county commissioners, Michael and I will continue to stand with the students, parents and educators in their effort to provide high quality public education for Somerset County. That’s why I ran for the Board of Education in the first place.”
If Robinson and Sooy win, they would become the first Somerset County Democrats to be re-elected to countywide office in 43 years.
In 1973, a 26-year-old North Plainfield Councilman, Frank Nero, won a freeholder seat in the Watergate-related Democratic landslide that year. Nero didn’t seek re-election in 1976 – he won 31% of the vote in a race for Congress against Rep. Millicent Fenwick (R-Bernardsville).
Democrat Michael Ceponis, a 23-year-old Somerville councilman, kept the seat in Democratic hands after winning by just 44 votes. Ceponis won again in 1979 but lost in 1982 when he was beaten by Christine Todd Whitman.
Robinson and Sooy ousted incumbents Mark Caliguire and Patrick Scaglione in 2018, and Democrats won control of county government in 2019 when Melonie Marano unseared four-term freeholder Patricia Walsh by 341 votes.