Republican Primary Battle & Party Affiliation

Republican Primary Battle & Party Affiliation

By Manville.Today
April 15, 2024

On Monday, March 25th, those seeking to run in the upcoming June Primary Election were required to submit their petitions to the Clerk. Democrats submitted their two candidates for Manville Borough Council.

The Republicans have four candidates who submitted petitions to run for Borough Council to battle it out in the Primary. Two candidates are running under the "Somerset County Republican Organization" slogan, while the other two are running on the "Fighting For Manville" slogan. The latter was used by the Mayor and his two council candidates who ran "off the line" last year.

Republicans also have their county committee seats up for a vote this year. A review of the petitions filed indicates there is a battle here as well. Many of the voting districts have both municipal/county-backed candidates, as well as "Fighting For Manville" candidates.

There appears to be a serious division within Manville's Republican party. Their party is fractured, as you can see with the traditional municipal/county-backed candidates going against a separate group of candidates, which appears to be associated with the current Mayor under his "Fighting for Manville" slogan.

Let's take a step back to 2023. Remember that there were three sets of candidates for Borough Council & Mayor on the ballot? We had the municipal/county party-backed Republican and Democrat candidates. Then, we had the Mayor and his two hand-picked candidates running "off the line".

Since debuting Manville.Today, we've been contacted by several people telling us that Mayor Onderko, and Councilwomen Camacho and Puia, should be identified as independents. They are not independents. They are registered Republicans.

Because they chose to "run off the line" in 2023's General Election, they were considered running independent of party or "independents" solely for the purpose of the ballot. Because they did not get the backing of the municipal/county party, they were not permitted to use "Republican" when they ran for election.

However, they remain registered Republicans. They are eligible to vote in the Republican Primary, and, two of the three are on the ballot for Republican Committee this year. (You can't vote in the Republican Primary or be on the ballot IF you are not a registered Republican).

We submitted an OPRA request to the Somerset County Board of Elections. We asked for their political party affiliation, and if they filed any political party declaration forms (meaning that they switched parties). We received confirmation they are Republicans, and that no party affiliation declaration forms were filed.

Let's further confirm this fact by reviewing a phone interview with Bill Spadea on NJ 101.5 that Dayna Camacho called into last election season.

"So you're running as, what, an Independent?" NJ 101.5's Bill Spadea asks.

Dayna Camacho responds: "Technically on paper, but we are Republicans." "We are all registered Republicans."

Clip of NJ 101.5 Phone Interview

There's your proof. The Mayor and last year's two Councilwomen winners are not independents. They are, and will continue to be, Republicans and we will continue to refer to them as such.