MILLBURN, NJ — After a contested election in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for two seats on the Millburn Township committee, the two Democrats who secured the nomination said local elections are more important than ever because of a ” threat from Trump’s Republicans”.
Annette Romano and Michael H. Cohen squared off against a third candidate, Jeff Feld, on Tuesday for two nominations to run for two seats on the five-member Millburn Township committee in November.
Unlike neighboring towns (like Maplewood) in which no Republicans have filed to face off in November, the Democratic candidates face challenges from two Republicans, including a former school board member.
Nominees Cohen and Romano released a joint statement on Thursday saying:
“We are humbled by the support of our fellow Millburn-Short Hills Democrats. This election and the general election are about Millburn-Short Hills values. At a time when democracy is under threat from Trump’s Republicans, we must redouble efforts to elect representatives at all levels of government who will fight to strengthen our institutions and protect fundamental rights.Every election counts.
The statement echoes similar comments made by Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s campaign this week. A spokesperson for Sherrill, who is up for re-election in November, warned of Republican “extremism” after the congresswoman squeezed the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.
“Mikie Sherrill got more votes in her uncontested primary than all five Republican candidates combined,” her spokesperson said Wednesday. “Voters in Essex, Morris and Passaic will continue to reject this form of extremism in the fall.”
Millburn vote totals
As of noon Wednesday, Cohen led the vote total with 1,077 votes. Romano amassed 979 and Jeffrey Feld collected 385. As ballots could be mailed out until Tuesday evening, some are likely still being counted.
However, there was ample room for Feld to issue a statement of concession (below).
Meanwhile, the two Republicans who got their nominations without contest, and their totals, are:
- Oyin Owolabi, former member of the Board of Education, 289 votes
- Michael Rozansky, retired small business owner, 295 votes
Their totals were likely swayed by the fact that they did not face a nomination challenge, as Democrats did.
Feld, who did not win the Democratic nomination, released a statement referring to controversial issues in the city, such as an affordable building project at 9 Main St.
“Residents have spoken,” Feld wrote. “I lost. I will not be the candidate for the local Democratic Party in November. My short primary campaign was liberating. I met and heard from many inhabitants. New voices were added to the public debate. I would like to thank my family, my friends and my residents who encouraged and supported my grassroots reform efforts. We made changes. Two incumbents left and a municipal lawyer retired.
He added: “To my two main opponents, Michael Cohen and Annette Romano, good luck in the November elections. Please listen to all residents. Consider their suggestions. the contaminated site of the DPW project before it tore this community apart. Restore Mayor Elaine Becker’s approach of civility and common sense. Ultimately, we are all neighbors who want to preserve and defend what makes this community special.
Romano and Cohen also touched on Feld’s claim.
“We appreciate Mr. Feld’s well wishes,” they wrote, “and look forward to continuing to have an open dialogue with our fellow citizens, to working on creative solutions to our challenges, and to working to elect the whole of the Democratic ticket in November.”
In Millburn’s form of government, the five members of the township committee choose one member from among themselves to be mayor each year.
Here are the profiles of the three Democratic candidates who faced off for the nomination.
- Michael Cohen, a retired finance professional
- Jeff Feld, lawyer and business owner
- Annette Romano, president of the local Democratic party and former director of health and safety for the American Red Cross.
Updates on the Republican candidates will be released soon.