Home>Local>Westfield Dems take 3 of 4 council seats; close races in Cranford, Kenilworth
Shelley Brindle, the mayor of Jon Bramnick's hometown, slams Bramnick law firm
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.)

Westfield Dems take 3 of 4 council seats; close races in Cranford, Kenilworth

GOP holds seats in Berkeley Heights, Roselle Park; close race in Mountainside

By David Wildstein, November 06 2019 4:05 am

Democrats took three out of four races for the Westfield Town Council to give Mayor Shelley Brindle a 7-1 majority and lead a race for Mayor of Kenilworth by just 12 votes.

Republicans appear to have held on to their lone seat on the Cranford Township Committee and held on to one of the council seats in Roselle Park.

Union County Democrats, who haven’t lost a countywide election since 1995, easily re-elected freeholders Bette Jane Kowalski, Sergio Granados and Rebecca Williams, and re-elected four-term surrogate James LaCorte with 65% of the vote.

Republicans Peter Kane and Glenn Gelband lost by nearly 19,000 votes.   LaCorte defeated Peter Lijoi by more than 20,000 votes.

Two Westfield Republican Councilmen, Frank Arena in the 1st ward and Joanna Neylan in the 2nd ward did not seek re-election.

Both open seats were captured by Democrats.

Arena’s seat was won by James Boyle, who won 59% in his race against Republican Robert Benacchio.

The 2nd ward seat was won by Mark Parmelee, who defeated Republican Rich Bodmer with 61% of the vote.

One Republican incumbent, 4th ward councilman Doug Stokes, was unseated by Democrat Scott Katz.  Katz received 58% of the vote.

The lone Republican survivor was Councilman Mark LoGrippo.  He defeated Jennifer Gilman by 112 votes, 53%-47%, in the 3rd ward.

In Cranford, Democrats held the seat being vacated by Ann Dooley with Kathleen Miller Prunty winning a township committee seat.  Republican incumbent Mary O’Connor leads Democrat Brian Andrews by 87 votes.    O’Connor’s running mate, Philip Siliato, trails Andrews by 369 votes.

Democrat Linda Karlovitch leads Republican Salvatore Candarella by 12 votes, 815 to 803, in the race for mayor of Kenilworth.

Democratic Anthony DeLuca did not seeking re-election to a second term, creating an open seat contest between Karlovitch, a councilwoman, and Candarella, a former two-term councilman.

In the race for two Kenilworth borough council seats, Democrats Kay Anne Ceceri and Mark David each received 794 votes.  They lead Republicans Scott Pentz (782) and Sean Pentz (771).

Republicans in Berkeley Heights defended their two seats on the township council, which is currently split 3-3 with a Democratic mayor.

Democrats held their three seats in Garwood, where they have a 5-1 majority.  But they missed an opportunity in Mountainside, where union leader and first responder Carlos Gomez, the lone Democrat running for local office, trails Republican Donna Pacifico by just 48 votes.

Roselle Park Republican William Fahoury was re-elected to the borough council, defeating Democrat Paul Baiamonte with 61% of the vote in the 3rd ward.

In the 4th ward, Democrat Michael Connelly leads Republican Edmund Fahoury by 19 votes, 177 to 169.

In Winfield, Mayor Robert Reilly, the only Republican on the three-member township Committee, defeated Democrat Joseph Byrne by 10 votes, 126 to 117.

In 2016, Reilly unseated incumbent Margaret McManus, who is also the Democratic Municipal Chair, by three votes in a rematch of their 2013 race, which McManus won by 17.  McManus returned to the governing body in 2017, running unopposed.

Democrats coasted in Union Township, where State Sen. Joseph Cryan’s political organization is solid.

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