November 8, 2023

BOE Challengers Running Strongly in Early Vote

By Donald Gilpin

With only six of 22 precincts reporting by press time last night, the outcome of the hotly contested race with two incumbents and three challengers vying for three seats on the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education was uncertain. At press time Eleanor Hubbard had received 1,708 votes, incumbent Beth Behrend 1,532, Adam Bierman 1,378, Rene Obregon Jr. 1,241, and incumbent Michele Tuck-Ponder 1,141.

The unofficial totals so far do not include provisional ballots and some mail-in ballots.

Princeton voters have apparently approved the PPS $13 million facilities bond proposal with a total of 1,908 to 751 votes as tallied at press time.

In the 16th legislative district race for New Jersey state Senate, incumbent Democrat Andrew Zwicker leads his Republican challenger Michael Pappas by 57 percent to 41.6 percent, with Libertarian Richard J. Byrne running a distant third with 1.4 percent out of about 57 percent tallied so far.

With two positions in the state assembly 16th district on the line, incumbent Democrat Roy Freiman, and Mitchelle Drulis, also a Democrat, were leading their Republican rivals Ross Traphagen and Grace Zhang. With about 53 percent of the results in, Freiman had 28.6 percent of the votes, Drulis 28.3 percent, Traphagen 21.5 percent, and Zhang 21.5 percent.

In the race for Mercer County executive, taking the seat of Brian Hughes, who is stepping down at the end of the year after serving in the post for the past 20 years, Democrat Dan Benson seems to be coasting to victory with a lead of 16,590 (82 percent) to 3,489 (17 percent) over Republican Lisa Marie Richford.

In the race for Mercer County sheriff, Democrat John “Jack” Kemler appears to have won a fifth term with 16,459 votes so far, besting Republican Bryan “Bucky” Boccanfuso with 3,292 votes, and Unaffiliated Drew L. Cifrodelli with 273 votes.

The incumbent Democrats on the Mercer County Board of Commissioners also appeared to have held onto their seats, as Lucylle Walter and John Cimino received 16,263 and 16,314 votes respectively to 3,559 and 3,495 votes respectively for their Republican challengers Joseph Stillwell and Denise “Neicy” Turner.

Unopposed Democratic incumbents David Cohen and Leticia Fraga have successfully reclaimed their seats on Princeton Council for a third three-year term.

Update: In unofficial results, Eleanor Hubbard with 3,955 votes, incumbent Beth Behrend with 3,221, and Adam Bierman with 3,181 votes have defeated Rene Obregon Jr., 3,103 votes, and incumbent Michele Tuck-Ponder, 2,399 votes, for three seats on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education.