Danielsen, Wright, Easily Overcome Primary Challenges

Poll workers arrive at the municipal building on June 6.

Township residents who are incumbent Democrats at the state and local levels handily beat back challenges in the June 6 primary election.

Deputy Mayor Carl Wright (D-Ward 4) and state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17) came up big winners in the voting. Danielsen was joined in the winners’ circle by his running mates, state Assemblyman Joe Egan and state Sen. Bob Smith.

Wright faced a challenge by community activist Johnny Tibbs, but beat his opponent by a tally of 833 to 290.

In the state races, the incumbent Democratic 17th District delegation was faced with a primary from three candidates running under the “Central Jersey Progressive Democrats” banner.

District-wide, Danielsen garnered 8,991 votes while Egan received 9,576 votes. Their challengers, Heather Fenyk and Ralph Johnson, received 4,487 and 4,399 votes, respectively.

In Franklin Township, Danielsen received 3,459 votes, Egan received 3,526 votes, Fenyk earned 1,475 votes, and Johnson received 1,479 votes.

Smith received 10,068 votes district-wide, while his opponent, William Irwin, received 3,915.

In Franklin Township, Smith earned 3,696 votes and Irwin received 1,253 votes.

Danielsen said he saw the results as less as a victory for himself than as “a sacred offering of trust from my constituents.”

“The core of this is a message from them that I have a lot of work to do,” Danielsen said. “I have been charged with this responsibility, and my staff and my entire organization of Democrats in Franklin Township have a job to do We’ve been hard at work for many years, and we’re going to continue to do this.”

“This is also an affirmation that what we’ve been doing is correct,” he said. “We are the most responsive organization that I’ve ever been a member of. I’m proud to say my staff, the Democratic Party and my running mates have matched the expectations of the voters. They spoke very clear with an overwhelming landslide victory tonight.”

Danielsen said their primary challengers mislead their followers.

“I think the initiators of this had their own personal agendas,” he said. “I think they misguided organizations to endorse them, organizations that never approached me or gave me an offer to interview with them, and they inevitably became victims of the misguided intentions.”

Wright could not be reached for comment.

Voters also solidified the slates presented to them by their parties for the Township Council, Somerset County Freeholder, state Legislature and Governor’s races.

In races involving township residents, on the Democratic side, incumbent Township Councilman Ted Chase (Ward 1) received 897 votes, newcomer Will Galtieri (Ward 2) received 1,163 votes, incumbent Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka (ward 3) received 756 votes, and incumbent Township Councilman James Vassanella (Ward 5) received 745 votes.

On the Republican side, in the Township Council primary, Laxman Kanduri (Ward 1) received 152 votes, Scott Siegel (Ward 2) received 424 votes, Beverly Briggs-Lawson (Ward 3) received 163 votes, and Nabil B. Choueiri (Ward 5) received 126 votes.

Republicans did not have a Ward 4 candidate by the time ballots were determined, but have since fielded Estelle Mitzen as their candidate. Mitzen did not receive any ballots in the primary, according to the unofficial tally.

On the county level, Freeholder Brian Levine received 10,923 votes county wide and 934 votes in Franklin. His running mate, Freeholder Brian Gallagher, received 10,994 votes county wide and 901 votes in Franklin.

Township Councilwoman Shanel Robinson (D-At Large), running for one of the available Freeholder seats, received 14,221 votes county wide and 4,357 in Franklin. Her running mate, Alex Avellan, received 13,960 votes county wide and 4,202 in Franklin.

All three Republican candidates for state Assembly and Senate in the 17th Legislative District are Franklin residents. On the township level, assembly candidates Robert Quinn and Nadine Wilkins received 952 and 942 votes, respectively.

In the LD 17 state Senate primary, in Franklin, Daryl Kipnis received 960 votes.


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