He’s made no such declarations of imminent retirement, but if long-serving Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer decides not to run for reelection next year, his departure could spill into the open a collision course between two Bernards Township Republicans.
Mayor Carol Bianchi and Township Committeeman John Carpenter are apparently both interested in moving up if an opportunity occurs.
It would be an interesting match-up.
A Seton Hall Law School product, Bianchi is described as the charismatic future of the party, a rock star in residence whose charm could galvanize a cemetery. Some circles regard her practically unbeatable. Carpenter has steady, good-guy street cred, however, a family man who once took a shot at a freeholder seat and came up short, and was a steady soldier in backing the winner of that GOP contest, Freeholder Pat Scaglione.
In the words of a Somerset Republican source, Bianchi’s got the star power, absolutely. But there’s a little sentiment remaining for Carpenter, since he tied with Scaglione in 2009, before losing a recount, and a persistent feeling on the committee that he should have won that year.
There could be others who jump into the pre-primary contest, if it comes to fruition. But, the source said, if Palmer goes, Bernards is going to fight tooth and nail for a seat on the freeholder board they’ve long felt they’ve been denied.