With the filing deadline for the June 7 primary less than three weeks away, the municipal candidate fields are starting to take shape in the five Somerset Hills towns.
Several incumbents contacted by this newspaper confirmed that they will be seeking re-election. Others have not yet announced their decisions – or failed to return messages inquiring about their plans.
The filing deadline for the primaries is Monday, April 4.
In Bernards Township, where one seat on the Township Committee will be filled this fall, incumbent Janice Fields, a Republican, said she would seek a second, three-year term.
The township Republican Municipal Committee plans to endorse for the seat at its screening meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 21. The deadline to apply for the endorsement was 5 p.m. Friday, March 11.
On Monday, GOP Committee Chairman Scott Mitzner said Fields was the only one to apply.
“No other candidates have submitted to run against her, which is a true testament to her outstanding work on the Township Committee and her incredible service to our community as mayor last year,” he said.
In Bedminster, two Republican incumbents, Doug Stevenson and Gina Fernandez, plan to seek the endorsement of the township’s Republican Municipal Committee (RMC) for new, three-year terms on the Township Committee.
“Yes, I will be seeking re-election this year,’’ Stevenson said. “It has been a privilege and an honor to represent the residents of Bedminster over the past six years. I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished on the Township Committee, navigating the community though the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
“There are several initiatives in town that are in the planning phase, including our community gardens project and the extension of our sewer service areas, that I am excited to be a part of and that I would like to roll out to the public,’’ he added. “In addition, we have several major tasks to tackle coming up, including another round of contract negotiations with the PBA and monitoring the township’s compliance with the state’s affordable housing obligations, that I feel is critical for the township and its future and would also like to see through to completion.’’
Fernandez acknowledged that she is interested in serving a second term, but said she needs to “interview with the RMC before I can officially answer’’ the question of whether she’ll be running. “I will let you know some time after March 23rd.’’
In Peapack-Gladstone, the four-year mayoral term will be filled this year along with two, three-year seats on the Borough Council.
Mayor Greg Skinner has already announced that he will not be seeking re-election when his first term expires at the end of the year.
The two council seats are held by Republican Mark Corigliano, the council president, and Gian Paolo “G.P.” Caminiti, an independent. Neither have announced their plans.
The Peapack-Gladstone Republican Committee will be screening candidates for the spots at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 21.
In Far Hills, the terms of Mayor Paul Vallone and Borough Councilmen David Karner and Dr. Edward McLean, all Republicans, will be on the election ballot.
Vallone, who is serving his 12th year as mayor, announced this week that he will not be seeking a fourth, four-year term.
Karner, the longtime council president, said on Saturday, March 12, that he would be happy to step aside if another person wants to volunteer but if that doesn’t happen, he would likely continue to serve.
McLean, who was appointed to the council in November 2019 and then defeated Democrat Karen Reilly for a two-year unexpired term in November 2020, did not respond to an email inquiry from this newspaper.
In Bernardsville, Republican Mayor Mary Jane Canose and Republican Borough Council members Chad McQueen and Jena McCredie are all seeking re-election, and have been endorsed by the local GOP municipal committee.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.