Mayoral primary set for Tuesday

The race between Democrats Amy Aughenbaugh and Mike Vanderbeck for the Democratic nomination for mayor will be decided at the polls Tuesday.

By: Scott Morgan
   Primary elections throughout the state will take place Tuesday.
   Nominations for the Republican and Democratic candidates to compete in local, county and state races in the general election will be decided.
   Tuesday’s borough primary hosts a crowded field of four Borough Council hopefuls and three mayoral prospects.
   In the mayoral race, Democrats Mike Vanderbeck and Mayor Amy Aughenbaugh, who seeks her second term in the seat, will face off. Resident Eugene Sarafin, also a Democrat, has announced his write-in campaign as well. There are no Republicans on the mayoral ticket.
   Councilwoman Nancy Walker-Laudenberger is one of two Republicans running unopposed for the party nominations for two Borough Council seats this year. While Ms. Laudenberger is seeking election to her second term on council, Planning Board member Susan Holtzclaw is looking to win her first term.
   Democrats Nancy Clemente, who replaced Eva Teller on the party ticket, and Planning Board member Joan Woomer seek their first council seats.
   Two council seats expire this year, those of Ms. Walker-Laudenberger and Mr. Vanderbeck, who chose to not seek re-election, but to run for mayor.
   Mr. Vanderbeck has campaigned on the idea of shared services, saying they are the key to both the short- and long-term health of the borough. In the short term, Mr. Vanderbeck said, shared services (such as a shared chief financial officer or municipal administrator) would lend the borough more credibility toward getting state aid money.
   He also has defended his position against those who assume "shared services" means consolidation with East Windsor.
   "I do not support consolidation," Mr. Vanderbeck said. Rather, he explained that his take on shared services means cooperation with area towns other than East Windsor, such as Millstone Township and Roosevelt Borough.
   Mayor Amy Aughenbaugh said she agrees with her opponent on shared services. Maintaining her position is not as different from Mr. Vanderbeck’s as many would like to portray, Mayor Aughenbaugh said she already has both continued and generated shared services, such as the 911 emergency dispatch with Cranbury Township and health services with West Windsor Township. She said she plans to continue pursuing state and federal money to help keep the borough solvent.
   In the long term, Mr. Vanderbeck said a shared services approach could also help offset the ever-present burden of property taxes and the over-reliance of local governments on using those taxes to pay for nearly everything.
   Ms. Walker-Laudenberger said she wants to serve another term on council because she wants to continue to be a part of a town that she described as "so very exciting." She said the borough is moving forward in an important direction and that she wants to stay on for the ride.
   Ms. Clemente, an accountant at Educational Testing Service in Lawrence, was appointed to assume Ms. Teller’s candidacy via petition after Ms. Teller dropped out.
   Ms. Clemente said she has lived in town for about three years and in that time has come to care for Hightstown and connect with both Mayor Aughenbaugh and Councilman Dan Buriak. She said she intends to study the possibilities of promoting viable business situations, the expansion of the real estate tax base and the validity of shared services, though she said she is neither for or against such a plan at this time. She said, merely, that it is "something to be looked into."
   Ms. Woomer said she first considered running for council last year, but worried about the time commitment. With such concerns behind her, Ms. Woomer said she is enticed by what the borough has to offer.
   With roots in town that go back at least to the turn of the last century, Ms. Woomer said such a historic attachment has fostered a love for the historic nature of the borough and a desire to be part of it. She said her love of history also compels her to want to rejuvenate the community with fresh ideas and approaches.
   Both Ms. Walker-Laudenberger and Ms. Woomer agree the major issue facing the borough is property taxes. Ms. Walker-Laudenberger said that with a built-out ratable base, the borough needs to be prudent with how it spends its money. She added that it is important for everyone to remember that no one on council acts alone. What ever gets done, she said, is done by the whole community.
   Ms. Holtzclaw was not available for comment.
East Windsor
   There are no municipal-level elections in the township this year.
Mercer County
   Two seats on the Board of Chosen Freeholders are available this year as is the sheriff’s post.
   Two Democrats and two Republicans are running unopposed for their parties’ nominations in the freeholder race. Republicans Jack Mozloom of Robbinsville and Kathryn Lambert of Hamilton, and incumbent Democrats Tony Mack of Trenton and Lucy Walter of Ewing will likely face off in the November general election for the two three-year terms.
   The races for nominations for the three-year sheriff’s term are uncontested as well. The Republican is Jerry V. Fiabane of Hamilton and the Democrat is Kevin C. Larkin of Hamilton.
U.S. House of Representatives
   A two-year term representing New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District is up for grabs this year.
   Incumbent Republican Chris Smith of Robbinsville and Democrat Mary Brennan of Bordentown are running unopposed for their respective parties’ nominations.
U.S. Senate
   The race for one of the Garden State’s two seats in the Senate has drawn three Republicans to challenge incumbent Democrat Robert G. Torricelli of Englewood.
   State Sen. Diane Allen of Burlington, Douglas R. Forrester of Princeton Junction and John J. Matheussen of Sewell are competing for the Republican nomination.
   Sen. Torricelli is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
   The Senate term is for six years.
Managing Editor T.J. Furman contributed to this report.
For results of the primary election Tuesday night, check back with