North Plainfield police chief Bill Parenti has won the Somerset County Republican organization line for sheriff.
Parenti was nominated by acclamation at the GOP convention tonight to succeed Frank Provenzano. Provenzano is retiring after eighteen years as sheriff and had endorsed Parenti.
Tim Pino, a retired K-9 unit commander and an aide to State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Oxford), plans to run against him in the June primary. Pino refused to sign a pledge to abide by the county committee vote, so part rules prevented him from screening.
Somerset County Democrats have endorsed Darren Russo, a former Franklin Township police lieutenant, as their candidate for sheriff. In 2016, Russo won 49% of the vote in his bid to unseat Provenzano.
“My goal from the start of the campaign was to create a platform to be the Sheriff for all of the people of Somerset County,” Pino said. “I’m proud to run on the Republican principles of law enforcement for the safety of all of the residents as well as having the fiscal responsibility to deliver the highest level of law enforcement in a cost effective manner. And we will do this from Day 1.”
Pino says he made a strategic decision to skip the Somerset convention.
“It is with these guideposts that I want to take my message out of the channel of the county screening process that engages a very small percentage of Republicans and bring it to the entire Republican base, seeking their mandate, to link arms early with a goal that we can have all Republicans , and yes even some Democrats, come together and support our exciting state of the art platform,” said Pino. “I look forward to working with Republicans in the County Organization and reaching out together to all Republicans in Somerset County with our the only focus on winning this county election and remaining a Republican controlled county. It’s now or never for Somerset County Republicans, and I offer a unique platform that offers that clear path to victory in November.”