Two Sussex County freeholders lost their bid for re-election against challengers backed by State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Franklin).
The incumbents, Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro, lost by a wide margin against Franklin council president Dawn Fantasia and Sparta mayor Josh Hertzberg.
Fantasia was the top vote-getter with 6,511, followed by Hertzberg with 4,957. Lazzaro received 3,911 votes, and Rose finished fourth with 3,855.
Republicans have not lost a freeholder race in Sussex County since 1999, when Democrat Howard Burrell ousted incumbent Richard Darina by 501 votes.
Sussex Democrats didn’t find candidates in time to meet the April filing deadline. Instead, they are looking to nominate Howard Zatkowsky and Patrick Curreri through a write-in campaign. Each need 100 votes to win the primary that way.
On Tuesday, Newton mayor Wayne Levante, narrowly defeated for re-election last month, filed as an independent candidate for freeholder. Levante was censured by his colleagues after a Facebook post alleged a “crisis actor” conspiracy after the Parkland, Florida school shooting. He called Parkland survivor David Hogg a “crisis actor.”