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Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer.

Schaffer calls open Assembly primary in 21st

Somerset Dems endorse Marano, Russo

By Nikita Biryukov, March 21 2019 7:46 pm

Update: Somerset County Democrats have picked former Green Brook mayor Melonie Marono as their freeholder candidate and Darren Russo, a retired Franklin police lieutenant, as the organization candidate for sheriff.

Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer declared an open primary in the 21st legislative district Thursday, setting up a three-way contest between Stacey Gunderman, Jill LaZare and Lisa Mandelblatt in Bernards, Far Hills, Warren and Watchung.

Gunderman and Mandelblatt won the Union County line last month and have been endorsed by Rep. Tom Malinowski. In 2017, 75% of Democratic primary votes in the 21st district came from Union County.

LaZare has previously mounted runs in the district. She challenged Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean in 2017 and ran against Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz in 2015 and 2013.

Goutam Jois, who ran against Malinowski in a primary last year, was making a bid for the Assembly nomination but dropped out of the race.

In the 23rd district, Somerset County Democrats backed Denise King.

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