Incumbents win primary for three Freeholder seats


The three Democratic incumbents for the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders election in November have been given the nod to run in the November general election.

Incumbents James Polos and Ronald Rios ran uncontested for two three-year seats in the June 2 primary, receiving 15,909 votes and 15,664 votes respectively.

Meanwhile, incumbent Carol Barrett defeated newcomer Jusleine C. Daniel for the party’s nomination to a two-year unexpired term. Barrett, who received the endorsement of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization along with Rios and Polos, received 15,765 votes, while Daniel received 3,909 votes.

Countywide voter turnout for Democrats was about 18 percent, with the total machine voter turnout for the political party at 30,400. There are 168,532 registered Democrats in the county.

Barrett said that she followed the advice of the late Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel, whom she replaced last year after he passed away. The South Brunswick resident said Crabiel advised her to always run as if she were losing in the polls.

“I certainly thank all of the Democrats that went out to vote,” Barrett said. “It wasn’t much of a race for Democrats, so anyone that went out and voted, I thank them. It was a wonderful win. I was particularly nervous this time around, because it was the first time I was running outside of South Brunswick … You know a lot of people, they know you [in South Brunswick], but when I was campaigning [for the board], I was in towns I have never really been too.”

Barrett said that this campaign was a pleasure, and she is looking forward to the campaign trail for the November election.

“I really, really enjoyed this election, because I did go to all of these towns and meet so many new people,” Barrett said. “I made a lot of friends and everyone was so kind to me. ” Daniel, who is an Old Bridge resident, said that she would run for public office again, although it is too early for her to know when she would run again.

“I have to confer with my family,” she said. “I haven’t made decision.”

Daniel said that she will need to increase fundraising next time; however, she was pleased with the support she received in her first election and she described it as a great experience.

“Basically, I am really happy that I received a significant amount of votes,” Daniel said. “I knew that I would have an uphill battle in terms of winning the election …. I believe I can bring a different perspective.”

Daniel said her campaign was about getting people engaged in the process who do not typically participate in elections. She thanked the voters for their support.

“Everybody I reached out to went out and voted for me,” she said. “Because my fundraising was a little bit weak, I wasn’t able to reach out to as many people, but I was able to get everybody I reached out to into process. I want county politics for the people to matter.”

Rios also expressed gratitude to his supporters and said that he will campaign as a team alongside his fellow Democrats.

“We believe what we are doing on the Freeholder board is making it possible to continue to provide services to our residents,” he said. Rios said that 18-percent voter turnout for the party in this primary is not surprising.

“I just think that it’s typical of a primary election turnout,” Rios said. “A lot of people don’t turnout for the primary and I think more people will turnout in the general election … I think our team is the best team for county residents. We’re going to campaign hard. We’re not taking this election for granted.”

Polos said he is looking forward to the general election and the opportunity to continue to serve county residents. He said the board strives to stabilize taxes, as well as seek out opportunities to share services, start environmentally sustainable initiatives, improve energy efficiency and preserve open space.

“I appreciate the support of the residents of the county for my candidacy, for my reelection [and] for the support given to the whole ticket,” he said.

Middlesex County Sheriff and Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Spicuzzo said that the incumbents have a good record in the county that they will campaign in. The incumbent Democrats will compete for seats against Republicans Lynda Woods Cleary, of Princeton; Richard F. Frank, of South Plainfield; and Candice Greaux, of Edison.

“I think the voters in the general election will turnout and will support, in Middlesex County, Jon Corzine and our assembly candidates and our freeholder candidates,” Spicuzzo said.