The winner of last night’s Democratic primary election for mayor of Highland Park was Elsie Foster, the current mayor, who attracted 1,269 votes, 64 percent of the ballots cast. Her opponent, Monique Coleman, a member of the Highland Park School Board, had 707 votes, 36 percent of the ballots cast. Therefore, Foster will be on the ballot as the Democratic candidate for mayor of Highland Park in the November 7, 2023 General Election.
In January, the Borough of Highland Park raised the curtain on a political drama that was inspired by the resignation of former Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler from her mayoral position on January 1, 2023. Several individuals vied for the council appointment as mayor to finish out Brill Mittler’s term. When Foster won council’s appointment, she then faced a primary challenge by Coleman for a full term as mayor.
The only other contested election on Highland Park’s radar screen was the Democratic Primary for Middlesex County Commissioner. Incumbents Charles Tomaro with 28,080 votes and Leslie Koppel with 28,959 votes won over their opponents Lawrence Z. Liu (7,194 votes) and Frances Bustos-Santiago (6,962) votes.
FROM NJ SPOTLIGHT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2023 by COLLEEN O’DEA
New Jersey’s mostly quiet legislative primaries featured no surprises Tuesday and now, after some bitter contests for Republican nominations, the GOP prepares its uphill battle to take control of one or both houses of the Legislature this fall.
As of 11:45 p.m., The Associated Press had called nearly all the contested races in the state. The results showed that all incumbents who faced a challenge, including Republican Sen. Edward Durr in South Jersey and Democratic Sen. Richard Codey in the north, had either won a place on the November ballot or were leading. The only incumbent who lost was Sen. Nia Gill, who was moved into Codey’s 27th District and chose to face him, rather than retire after redistricting. Because so many candidates were unopposed, the AP was able to call 185 races at 8 p.m., as soon as the polls closed.
At least one Democratic or Republican nomination was up for grabs in about a third of the state’s 40 legislative districts, while the GOP filed no candidates for 13 spots in the Senate or Assembly and the Democrats did not field a candidate in two races.
The results of this election set up the matches for November’s general election, in which Republicans will try to win enough seats to wrest control from the Democrats, who have held majorities in both the Senate and Assembly for two decades. Currently, the Democrats hold 25 of 40 Senate seats and 46 of 80 in the Assembly.
Still, the way district boundary lines were drawn last year ensures that only a handful of districts will be truly competitive this fall, so this primary election likely decided the winners in most districts.
Many polling places throughout the state were quiet during the day. A survey of turnout in partially counted districts by NJ Spotlight News found that, as of 11:45 p.m., about 12.5% of registered party voters had voted, though it was unclear whether those reports included early voters or were all the ballots received so far. The last time the Senate topped balloting in 2011, just 13% of registered partisans voted.
A large percentage of voters took advantage of the state’s early voting options. More than 220,000 people used mail-in ballots and some 24,000 visited in-person voting centers Friday, Saturday and Sunday to cast ballots early on machines. While the number taking advantage of early in-person primary voting remained low, that turnout was about 20% higher than in 2021, when the governor’s race topped balloting in the first year it was offered. For last year’s congressional primary, about 27,000 cast ballots at early voting centers.