It’s official: Incumbent upset in Hardyston primary race

An incumbent on the Hardyston council has been ousted from her nearly 30-year tenure after failing to secure her party’s nomination, according Sussex County primary election’s final tallies.

Leslie Hamilton, who was named 2003′s Sussex County Mayor of the Year, landed in last place in a three-way race for two council seats. Hamilton’s 467 votes was not enough to outlast 815 votes for current councilman Brian Kaminski and 608 votes for former councilman Frank Cicerale.

The men will face Democratic challenger Kristy Lavin, a child and family therapist and activist, come November. Lavin secured 553 votes for the Democratic nomination. No other Democrats filed.

With 15 votes separating Cicerale and Lavin and with just 30% of Hardyston voters mailing in or filling out paper ballots at the polls, November’s general election could make for an interesting shakeup for the all-Republican Hardyston Council.

Harydston is made up of 2,664 Republican registered voters compared with 1,391 registered Democratic voters.

In Hampton Township, newcomer Ed Ramm Jr. ultimately lost the Republican nomination for two seats on the committee to long-time incumbents Phil Yetter and David Hansen.

Ramm fell short of the nomination with 431 votes — 15 shy of the win. Yetter, who has been in elected office for over 40 years, secured the most votes with 565. Hansen, who has served on the committee since 1998, secured 445 votes.

With no Democrats on the primary ballot, Yetter and Hansen are on their way to near-likely wins in November.

The third contested race in the county was in Stillwater, where Mayor Lisa Chammings, who was first elected to a spot on the Township Committee in 2011, secured her party’s nomination for a single seat. Chammings secured 627 votes — or roughly 84% — to 121 cast for newcomer Michael Stillwagon.

The primary election concluded with a total of 30,207 ballots cast: 28,062 of those were mail-in ballots, 2,126 were cast via provisional, or paper, ballots at various locations and the remaining 19 were military ballots.

Roughly 28% of registered voters submitted ballots this year — an increase from 13% last year.

In November, Sussex County voters will also chose between incumbent Democrat Josh Gottheimer and retired investment banker Frank Pallotta in a closely watched 5th District congressional race. Statewide tallies showed Gottheimer secured 41,490 votes for his party’s nomination to Pallotta’s 20,351.

While Gottheimer may have ousted seven-term Republican incumbent Scott Garrett in 2016 thanks to district-wide votes, Garrett led Gottheimer in Sussex County voters.

It appears Pallotta is following that lead, securing 8,217 votes in Sussex County to Gottheimer’s 4,873 in the primary.

Morris County biotech executive Rik Mehta, a Republican, will take on U.S. Sen. Cory Booker come fall. Booker, a Democrat, obtained 9,885 votes in Sussex County and Mehta secured 7,439.

There was no party opposition for incumbent Mikie Sherrill for the Democratic nomination for for the 11th congressional district. Republican nominee Rosemary Becchi will face Sherrill in the November general election, having officially won her party’s nomination.

In Sussex County, residents continue to back President Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term against Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump secured 16,465 votes in Sussex County with Biden collecting 8,891.

Election Day is Nov. 3.


Source: NJ Herald,