November 9, 2023

Hubbard, Behrend, Bierman Win School Board Seats; Results Still Unofficial

By Donald Gilpin

Two challengers, Eleanor Hubbard and Adam Bierman, and incumbent Beth Behrend have won three available seats on the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE), ousting incumbent Michele Tuck-Ponder and apparently leaving Rene Obregon Jr. a few votes short in unofficial results as of November 9.

Hubbard was the top vote-getter with 4,027 (24.95 percent), followed by Behrend at 3,287 (20.37 percent), Bierman at 3,221 (19.96 percent), Obregon 3,150 (19.52 percent), and Tuck-Ponder 2,454 (15.21 percent).

The unofficial totals so far do not include provisional ballots and some mail-in ballots. The results will not be official until certified by the Mercer County clerk in about two weeks.

Princeton voters have also approved the PPS $13 million facilities bond proposal by a total of 4,143 (70.41 percent) to 1,741 votes as tallied so far.

Princeton has 20,960 registered voters, and 6,950 ballots (33.16 percent) have been cast. In Mercer County the totals were 240,397 registered and 68,945 ballots cast for a 26.48 percent turnout.

In the 16th legislative district race for New Jersey state Senate, incumbent Democrat Andrew Zwicker has defeated his Republican challenger Michael Pappas by 31,955 votes (55.4 percent) to 24,889 (43.1 percent), with Libertarian Richard J. Byrne running a distant third, 850 votes (1.5 percent), with about 98 percent of the votes 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, have outdistanced their Republican rivals, Grace Zhang and Ross Traphagen. With about 98 percent of the results in, Freiman has 31,501 votes (27.8 percent), Drulis 30,995 (27.4 percent), Zhang 25,547 (22.5 percent), and Traphagen 25,279 (22.3 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 coasted to victory with a lead so far of 45,995 (69.40 percent) to 20,283 (30.60 percent) over Republican Lisa Marie Richford.

In the race for Mercer County sheriff, Democrat John “Jack” Kemler has won a fifth term with 45,842 (69.1 percent) votes so far, besting Republican Bryan “Bucky” Boccanfuso with 18,923 votes (28.52 percent) and unaffiliated Drew L. Cifrodelli with 1,575 votes (2.37 percent).

The incumbent Democrats on the Mercer County Board of Commissioners also held onto their seats, as Lucylle Walter and John Cimino received 44,737 (34.22 percent) and 44,768 (34.24 percent) votes respectively to 20,803 (15.91 percent) and 20,440 (15.63 percent) 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.