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Peapack and Gladstone Councilman Don Lemma. (Photo: Peapack and Gladstone).

Somerset Republicans settle on slate for two county commissioner seats

Don Lemma, Dan Gallic will lead Republican efforts to reclaim ground in Somerset

By Joey Fox, March 14 2023 12:33 pm

Peapack and Gladstone Councilman Don Lemma and Warren Township Republican municipal chairman Dan Gallic will run for Somerset County Commissioner this year, as Republicans fight once again to flip the county-level offices that they lost during the Trump era.

Lemma had previously announced his campaign, while Gallic is a new entry to the race. Both have the support of Somerset Republican chairman Tim Howes, and neither are set to face any challengers at tonight’s Somerset County Republican convention.

“The ‘Don and Dan’ ticket is ready to lead us to victory,” Howes said.

Lemma was elected to his current seat on the Peapack and Gladstone borough council in 2020; he had previously served different terms on both the Peapack and Gladstone council and the Bridgewater Township Council.

Gallic, meanwhile, is a political operative and current board of education member who ran for the State Assembly back in 2003. At a special election convention for an open seat in the 21st legislative district, Gallic came in fourth place, with now-State Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) winning the seat previously held by now-Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield).

The two Democratic incumbents who are up this year, Commissioners Paul Drake and Doug Singleterry, were first elected in the 2020 elections that swept Republicans entirely out of control in a county they once dominated.

Just two years earlier, in 2018, Democrats had won their first commissioner seats in decades. Since then, Republicans have been unable to win any countywide offices, though they came close in 2021; a serious attempt in 2022 to flip a commissioner seat and two row offices fell short.

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