FR&A Analysis: State GOP Misstates Records Of Democratic Somerset County Freeholder Candidates

A flier paid for by an account of the state Republican Committee contains misstatements about the Democratic Somerset County Freeholder candidates’ records.


A campaign flier promoting the Republican slate of Somerset County Freeholder candidates contains misstatements about the candidates’ Democratic challengers.

The flier, which appeared in residents’ mailboxes during the week of Oct. 15, was paid for by Choice for Change, an account of the New Jersey Republican State Committee.

Republican Freeholder incumbents Patrick Scaglione and Mark Caliguire are being challenged by Franklin Township Deputy Mayor Shanel Robinson and Sara Sooy, a member of the Somerset Hills Board of Education.

“Sound the alarm! This is a real emergency! The tax and spend Democrats are trying to invade Somerset County,” the flier reads.

“Shanel Robinson is a tax-raiser,” the flier claims, saying that Robinson voted to “increase property taxes, spending and fees by millions of dollars as a Franklin Township Councilwoman.”

The flier then sates that “Robinson voted ‘YES’ to adopt 2016 Franklin Township budget, 3/22/16,” as proof of its claim.

The Township Council did not vote to adopt the budget at the March 22, 2016 meeting. Several amendments had to be made to the budget, forcing an additional public hearing and a final adoption vote to the April 12, 2016 meeting.

The budget that was passed in April included a $601,307 increase in the amount to be raised by taxes, not the millions as claimed in the flier paid for by state Republicans. At the time, Mayor Phil Kramer said the increase was the “lowest tax increase again since at least 2009.”

The state GOP made similar misstatements about Sooy.

“Sara Sooy jacks up taxes, too,” the flier reads. “During Sooy’s four years on the local school board, property taxes went up every year – a $2.25 million increase on homeowners.”

A review of meeting videos for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Somerset Hills Board of Education budget hearings shows that the amount to be raised by taxes increased slightly more than $1 million from the 2015-16 school year to the 2018-19 school year, from $32,731,746 to $33,796,999.

This is an occasional series in which the Franklin Reporter will truth-check claims made by candidates and parties during election seasons.


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