Home » Democrats sweep the Hopewell Valley in contested elections

Democrats sweep the Hopewell Valley in contested elections

by Amie Rukenstein

Democrats won across the State in the election yesterday, and the Hopewell Valley was no exception. While Democrats have maintained 100% control in the Township for years, Hopewell Borough lost its last remaining Republican Council member with the defeat of long-time incumbent Sky Morehouse.

The last few mail in ballots and any provisional ballots remain to be counted as of 8:30 Monday morning, but the results appear quite clear. In a three-way race for two seats in the Borough, Democrats Heidi Wilenius had 475 votes, Sheri Hook had 472 votes, and Republican Morehouse had 343 votes. Democrat Ryan Kennedy, who ran unopposed, will be the Borough’s new Mayor after the retirement of Paul Anzano.

The non-partisan race for Township representatives to the Hopewell Valley Board of Education had an unusual number of participants this year, resulting in the the three incumbents being re-elected to a three-year term. Board President Anita Williams-Galiano, Board Vice-President Andrea Driver, and Pam Lilleston, who was appointed by the Board to fill an empty seat earlier this year, all will resume their seats. Their challengers were Aileen Matticoli and John Slotman.

For the one-year term for the Township BOE seat previously held by retired long-term Board member Adam Sawicki, college student Dhruv Kapadia won with 53% of the vote over Mark Austin’s 47%. Neither Borough had contests for School Board.

For Hopewell Township Committee, the incumbent Democrats again won by large margins. Mayor Michael Ruger and incumbent Committee member and former mayor Kevin Kuchinski won with 32% each to Jennifer DiDonato and Dan Hanley’s 18% and 17%, respectively.

Races in the rest of the Valley were unopposed. Pennington Borough will see the return of Mayor James Davy and Council members Kit Chandler and John Valenza.

Uncontested Fire Commissioner races resulted in the following:

Hopewell Borough: Melvin Myers, Greg Davies, and John Blasi

Hopewell Township: Cosmo Tomaro and Erick Burd

Pennington Borough: Sandra Radice and Scott Schaub

Across the board, Democrats won for the Valley’s representatives to State and County seats. Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Anthony Verrelli will resume their seats in the State Assembly as will Shirley Turner in the State Senate. Dan Benson, who won the Democrat nomination during a contested primary against longtime incumbent Brian Hughes, will take his seat as County Executive. Long-time County Sheriff Jack Kemler beat his Republican opponents and Lucy Walter and John Cimino were successful in retaining their seats as County Commissioners.

To see other races around the County, click here.

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MercerMe is the only hyperlocal, independent, online news outlet serving Hopewell Valley in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Contact us: [email protected] 

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