By ALAN KARMIN
OLD BRIDGE – The Old Bridge Township Municipal Clerk certified 12 people as candidates for the Primary Election to be held on June 8, ahead of the General Election in November.
The Old Bridge Township Council is comprised of nine members; six members are elected to represent the six “wards” and three are elected as “at-large” from the township.
They are elected in a staggered vote, with the members who represent the wards selected in one election, and the at-large members selected two years later.
This year will be for the election of the ward seats, with five members seeking re-election: David Merwin (D-1); Erik DePalma (R-2); Mark Razzoli (Rep-4); Anthony “Tony” Paskitti (R-5); and John E. Murphy III (R-6).
Incumbent is Edina Brown (D) is not seeking re-election for her seat in Ward 3.
The challengers in the November election will be Kevin Garcia (R-1); Peter Shearer (D-2); Jill DeCaro (D-4; Lance Hilfman (D-5); and Nina Jochnowitz (D-6).
Kiran Desai (D) and Enid Crespo (R) will square off for Brown’s seat in Ward 3.
David Merwin has served one term on the Township Council, as well as the Planning Board, the Library Board, and as commissioner of the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority.
Kevin Garcia serves as an alternate member of the township’s Planning Board.
Erik DePalma won a special election last year when Mary Sohor resigned from the Ward seat to take office in an At-Large seat.
Peter Shearer had no information readily available by press time.
Kiran Desai is a local tax preparer who ran for a State Senate office in 2002, and former chair of Old Bridge’s Zoning Board.
Enid Crespo was appointed to Old Bridge’s Rent Stabilization Board earlier this month.
Mark Razzoli, a retired Jersey City police detective, was first elected in 2018 as a Democrat prior to switching to the Republican ticket. He received the Medal of Valor Award during his service as a police officer.
Jill DeCaro has been active for over 20 years in local Parent Teacher Associations of Old Bridge Township Schools. She held the office of PTA president at Schirra Elementary School and Carl Sandburg Middle School, and later served as president of the PTSA of Old Bridge High School. She is a two-term Board of Education member, and current Board of Ed president.
Anthony “Tony” Paskitti has been a member of the Old Bridge Community Emergency Response Team; the township’s Cable Committee; and has served as president, vice president, treasurer, coach and trustee of the Old Bridge Rams Pop Warner Football organization.
Lance Hilfman is the chairperson of the Old Bridge Housing Authority.
John E. Murphy III was elected in 2017 is the vice chairman of the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority.
Nina Jochnowitz is active in local politics and has been instrumental in establishing a rehabilitation for wild mammals in Middlesex County.