Will There Be Any Big Elections In 2023?

Photo by Bob Vosseller

NEW JERSEY – For those of us feeling election fatigue, there’s some good news: there will only be one huge election statewide in 2023. But, individual towns will have some nasty political battles.

National Races

  There won’t be any races for U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives. Even though votes are still being counted as this is being written, and Georgia’s Senate race has gone to a runoff, the national picture is unlikely to change next year.

  The only way change could happen is if someone retires (or gets arrested or dies) in the middle of their term. If Senator Bob Menendez, for example, steps down tomorrow and the Democrats pick Mikie Sherrill to replace him (as an example), then she would have to run in November of 2023 to complete the rest of his term.

  A Senate term is six years and a House term is two years.

  Senators are split into 3 classes.

  Senators in Class I were elected to office in the November 2018 general election, unless they took their seat through appointment or special election. Their terms run from the beginning of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019 to the end of the 118th Congress on January 3, 2025. (So they’d be up for election in 2024.) Our Robert Menendez is in this class.

  The two independents, Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (ME) are here, too. If you ever look at the Senate predictions, there’s 100 senators, and they usually put the two independents on the Democrat side because that’s how they tend to vote.

  Senators in Class II were elected to office in the November 2020 general election (the last presidential election), unless they took their seat through appointment or special election. Their terms run from the beginning of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2021 to the end of the 119th Congress on January 3, 2027. (So they’d be up for election in 2026.) Our Cory Booker is in this class.

  Senators in Class III were elected to office in the November 2016 general election, unless they took their seat through appointment or special election. Their terms run from the beginning of the 115th Congress on January 3, 2017 to the end of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2023. (These are the ones who were up for election in 2022.)

  House seats are on even-numbered years only.

State Races

  The next gubernatorial election, where we elect our governor, will be in 2025.

  However, every single seat of the NJ State Senate and Assembly will be on the ballot in November. There are 40 members in the Senate and 80 in the General Assembly. Every town has a district in which they are represented by one senator and two members of the assembly.

  Democrats have the majority in the executive branch (governor) and the legislative branch (Senate and Assembly). According to state figures, there are 24 Democrats and 16 Republicans in the Senate. There are 46 Democrats and 34 Republicans in the General Assembly.

  There will likely be a lot of money spent by both sides to increase or keep power. The legislators in most local elections are safely Republican so even though this is the one huge election of 2023, it won’t impact Ocean County very much.

File Photo

Local Races

  Some of our towns will have a lot of names on the ballots. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these people will run for re-election, but that their terms will be coming to a close. The following is a selection of races in our towns.

  In Berkeley, there will be three council members and the mayor’s seat on the ballot next year. Currently, these are held by Mayor Carmen Amato and Councilmen John Bacchione, Keith Buscio and Thomas Grosse. They have been on the governing body for a number of years.

  Berkeley is divided into wards. There are seven members of the council. One comes from each ward, and three are at-large, meaning they can live anywhere in town. The three up for re-election are the at-large council members.

  On the local board of education, Board President Jennifer Bacchione and board members Thomas Guarascio and David Ytreboe are up for re-election. This year, though, the Berkeley Board of Education candidates ran unopposed.

  The Central Regional Board of Education has nine members. Five are from Berkeley, and there is one each from the sending districts of Island Heights, Ocean Gate, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.

  In 2023, there will be an election for the Ocean Gate, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park members.

  For the 2022 General Election, no major positions were up for grabs in Brick.

  In 2021, John G. Ducey won his third term as mayor against Theresa Gallagher. Ducey will yet again serve a four-year term and the election for mayor will not take place until 2025.

  The current roster of Council members consists of: Council President Vincent Minichino, Council Vice President Lisa Crate, Councilman Perry Albanese, Councilman Derrick T. Ambrosino, Councilwoman Heather DeJong, Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero, and Councilwoman Andrea Zapcic.

  Albanese was the newcomer elected in 2021, along with Incumbent Council members Pontoriero and deJong won re-election to four-year terms.

  During the 2019 election, Zapcic and Crate won re-election, and newcomer Minichino also won a seat, all for four-year terms. During this election, Art Halloran won re-election. However, Halloran resigned from his seat on the council this year and Ambrosino filled his seat for the final year.

  Zapcic, Crate, Minichino, and Ambrosino’s terms will end December 31, 2023, putting four seats up for election in 2023.

  As for the Brick Township Board of Education, there will be two seats open to fill in the 2023 election race.

  Michael Blandina and Melissa Parker were elected as new board members in 2020 for three-year terms that will end December 31, 2023. This year, Parker put in her resignation as she was moving to a different state. In her place, the board chose Allison Kennedy to fill the remainder of Parker’s term.

  In 2021, incumbents Stephanie Wohlrab, Victoria Pakala and Nicole Siebert all won re-election for a three-year term. In 2022, Frances DiBenedictis and Madeline Iannarone won the two open seats.

  During the 2022 election, the Republican candidates had a clean sweep in winning all three seats open on the Howell Township Council.

  This year, Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond and Councilwoman Suzanne Brennan did not seek re-election. Councilman John Bonevich was seeking re-election; however, he did not receive enough votes to return to the council.

  The newcoming members are Susan Fischer, Fred Gasior and Ian Nadel who will all be serving four-year terms.

  So, will there be any election in 2023 for Howell Township? Well for the Township Council, there will be no open seats next year.

  Mayor Theresa Berger’s term is set to expire December 31, 2024 as well as Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell.

  As for the Howell Township Board of Education, there will be three seats open in the 2023 election. Board President Albert Miller along with Board members Dr. Denise M. Lowe and Ira Thor all have terms which are expiring December 31, 2023.

  Board members Dr. Stephen Levine, MaryRose Malley, and Jennifer Okerson have terms expiring in 2024.

  This year, three full-term seats were filled by Alexandria Langenberger, Joseph Mauer Jr., and incumbent member Cristy Mangano.

  Jackson just finished a big campaign season with a mayor and two council seats. Next year, there won’t be any seats on the governing body up for election barring any unforeseen circumstances.

  Two, three-year seats will be up for grabs on the Jackson Board of the Education.

  Lacey Township will see only one open seat on the Township Committee. Committeewoman Peggy Sue Juliano is seeking re-election for her first full three-year term on the panel.

  Two three-year-term seats are up for election next year on the Lacey Board of Education.

  In Manchester, the race for mayor and council is still undecided since it went to a runoff for December 13. Mayor Robert Hudak is running with Councilwoman Joan Brush and Timothy Poss. He is being challenged by Robert Arace for mayor, and Joseph T. Hankins and Roxanne Conniff for council. They are all Republicans.

  After that’s done, there will be no council or mayoral race in Manchester next year. 

  There will be a board of education election in 2023. Incumbents James Pate and Laura Wingler are up for re-election.

  Toms River will be a particularly big fight: mayor, three council members and three board of education members.

  Last time there was a mayoral election, there were three Republicans duking it out in the primary, where then-Councilman Maurice Hill won. He would go on to win in November as well.

  Toms River has a ward form of government, which means that there are seven members of the council. Three of them are “at-large” and can live anywhere in town. The other four have to live in the ward that they represent. The three at-large candidates whose terms will be ending were Hill’s running mates, council members Kevin Geoghegan, Joshua Kopp and Matt Lotano.

  There will also be three Board of Education member seats on the ballot. These seats are currently held by Lisa Contessa, Ashley Lamb, and Michele Williams.

  Alyssa Riccardi and Bob Vosseller contributed to this story.