As we look ahead to November’s elections, Cranford Patch is devoted to bringing you the information you need about political happenings in Cranford, Union County — and beyond.
Here's our opening salvo in our coverage of the candidates and issues we'll be following as November draws near.
Former Republican Township Commissioner Scott Mease and Democrat Thomas Hannen Jr. are both seeking election to the single seat that will be up for grabs on the Cranford Township Committee in the November election. Republican Mayor David Robinson's term is set to expire at the end of the year, but after nearly six years on the dias, he has chosen not to seek re-election.
The outcome of the will determine the balance of power on the Township Committee. Currently, the governing body is made up of three Republicans - Robinson and new members Andis Kalnins and Lisa Adubato Nesi, as well as two Democrats - Edward O'Malley and Kevin Campbell. If Hannen wins a spot on the committee, the Democrats will again have control of the Township Committee.
Hannen, who ran unsuccessfully alongside former Mayor Daniel Aschenbach last year, has been involved in the Flood Advisory Committee as well as several other township organizations. He has been involved in politics for several years. He spent 12 years as a councilman in Winfield, four of them as the mayor.
Hannen said the township needs to further explore the possibilities of shared services with other towns to offset some costs and streamline the workings of the township. He will also continue to join the opposition against development in the flood zone.
A mechanical engineer by trade, Mease is a former township commissioner. He ran for Township Committee 10 years ago in 2002 and served from 2003 through 2005. He was the commissioner of Engineering and Public Works all three of his years. He later served on the township's Grievance Committee and the Town Pool Board as well as the Flood Committee.
Mease was one of several residents whose home sustained heavy damage as a result of . As a result, he has an especially strong interest in flood control efforts.
In addition to the Township Committee race, Cranford residents will also be asked to cast their votes for the newest members of the Board of Education. There are three, three-year seats and one, one-year seat open on the
board. According to Business Administrator Robert Carfagno, there are four incumbents running: Catherine Morgese, Mary Venditti and Camille Widdows for the three-year term and one incumbent, Jill Brown, running for the one-year term. No other candidates filed petitions with the County Clerk for the upcoming election.
Cranford is also located in the 7th Congressional District. Locals will be choosing between incumbent U.S. Representative Leonard Lance, a Republican, and challenger Upendra Chivukula, a Democrat. It will be an uphill battle for Chivukula: . Chivukula has to enlist support for his campaign.
Cranford residents will also get to vote for either State Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R) and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D) in the race for one of the two U.S. Senate seats representing New Jersey — currently held by Menendez. Kyrillos has already in his primary election victory speech, calling Menendez a "mediocre" senator and stating, "Our unemployment rate, our soaring national debt, our out-of-control spending—these are all getting worse because of policies that Senator Menendez supports." In a statement on primary election night, Menendez said, he looked "forward to a campaign that will focus on and discuss the differences between us in an honorable way." .
Keep watching Patch for coverage through November!