Melonie Marano, the Democratic candidate for Somerset County Freeholder, levelled an attack against incumbent Freeholder Pat Walsh over Walsh’s support — or lack thereof — for President Donald Trump Monday evening.
During a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Greater New Brunswick Area last night, Marano asked Walsh whether she supported Trump, whose tenure helped Democrats win over two of the county’s freeholder seats for the first time in decades last year.
“I have no idea yet if I will support Donald Trump in 2020,” Walsh said.
While Trump energized Democratic voters during last years wave elections, it’s not yet clear what effect he’ll have on this year’s races.
With Assembly seats at the top of the ticket, turnout is expected to be low, though portions of Somerset County fall within the 16th, 21st and 25th legislative districts.
Those districts will host some of the year’s most competitive races, meaning down-ballot turnout could see a bump as a result of the districts’ Assembly campaigns.
Faced with Marano’s attack off of the debate stage, Walsh turned it against her Democratic challenger, calling her a hyper-partisan, a potentially fatal designation in a moderate district.
“It’s pretty clear that Melonie Marano isn’t interested in being Freeholder — she’s interested in being a political commentator … The only vision she offered Somerset County taxpayers is one of becoming the California of the East Coast – which translates to higher taxes, mediocre schools, fleeing businesses, and no opportunity,” Walsh said. “I’m confident voters will see through Melonie’s hyper partisan campaign, and reject her as they have twice before.”