The Democratic primary for the Ward 3 seat on the Piscataway Township Council is too close to call.
Sharon Carmichael, who has the backing of the local Democratic organization, leads Staci Berger by just 30 votes, 688 to 658, in the race for an open seat. The incumbent, Steve Cahn, is not seeking re-election after nearly 21 years as a councilman.
The results might have been unintentionally affected by a Superior Court Judge who took twelve days to decide whether Berger and her slate of off-the-line candidates were entitled to recoup their legal fees after suing Nancy Pinkin, the embattled Middlesex County Clerk, to force her to hold a ballot drawing that had been abruptly cancelled at the last minute.
Judge Michael Toto ordered Pinkin to pay the $8,211 legal bill on Tuesday, after it was too late for Berger to use the money she was holding back to pay her attorney.
Carmichael is the director of Christian Education for the African Methodist Episcopal Church New Brunswick District and a longtime leader of the North Stelton AME Church in Piscataway. For the last 22 years, she has bee employed by AT&T.
Berger is the president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, and the former political and legislative director of New Jersey Citizen Action.
Three incumbents running on the organization line won renomination handily: Frank Uhrin received 70% in Ward 1 against Carmen Salvarrieta; Jim Bullard took 62% against school board member Ralph Johnson; and Council President Michele Lombardi, seeking renomination in Ward 4, won 81% of the vote against challenger Jonathan Powers.