In case you haven’t noticed

Sixteen of New Jersey’s 21 counties are controlled exclusively by one political party. Democrats occupy every Freeholder seat in Camden, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties and every countywide office in those eight counties except for the Mercer, where the GOP has a County Clerk. Republicans hold every Freeholder seat — and every constitutional office — in Burlington, Cape May, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties. Only five counties — three within a short drive of Delaware — have two party government at the county level: Atlantic: Republicans have a 6-3 majority on the Freeholder Board. The County Executive, County Clerk and Surrogate are Republicans and the Sheriff is a Democrat. Democrats, who did not even bother to run a candidate for County Executive in 2003, picked up one Freeholder seat last November when Joe Kelly ousted incumbent John Risley, and another this month when Republican James Carney switched parties. Control is at stake in November 2005: the At-Large seats of two Republican incumbents Joseph Silipenna and Steven Johnson are up, as is Carney’s District 3 seat. Carney is the Democratic nominee for Surrogate. Bergen: Democrats have a 6-1 majority on the Board of Freeholders. The County Executive, Sheriff and Surrogate are Democrats and the County Clerk is a Republican. Democratic incumbents Bernadette McPherson and David Ganz are strong favorites to win second terms over Republicans Michael Kaplan, the Mayor of Norwood, and Ramsey attorney Kelly Kirk. For the first time in five years, control is not at stake. Essex: Democats have a 8-1 majority on the Freeholder Board; only Muriel Shore, who represents a suburban West Essex district, is a Republican. The County Executive, County Clerk, Sheriff, Surrogate and Register are Democrats. Technically, control is at stake in 2005, since all nine Freeholder seats are up. Democrats came close to winning the one GOP seat in 2002 and 2003, and Shore faces a tough challenger in former At-Large Freeholder Linda Lordi Cavanaugh. Republicans held the fifth district seat from 1978 to 1993 and again from 1999 to 2002, but Democrat Ralph Caputo (who began his political career as a young Republican Assemblyman in 1967 and came back three years ago to oust an incumbent Freeholder) appears in good shape to win a second term. Cumberland: Democratic Freeholders have a 4-3 majority and as usual, control of the board is at stake. The County Clerk, Sheriff and Surrogate are all Republicans. In 2005, the seats of Democratic Freeholders Bruce Peterson and Jane Christy Yetman and Republican Jeffrey Trout are up. GOP Sheriff Michael Baruzza is seeking a third term. Salem: Democrats have a 4-3 majority on the Freeholder Board and control is at stake in the 2005 general election. Salem County has a Republican County Clerk, Sheriff and Surrogate. The seats of Democratic Freeholders Bruce Bobbitt and Charles Sullivan and Republican Freeholder David Sparks are in contention this year, as is Republican Surrogate Geneva Wood. Technically, control of the Board of Freeholders is also at stake in Hudson County, where all nine seats are to be contested this fall. In reality, Republicans are not likely to win any; they have not elected a GOP Freeholder since 1984. In Mercer County, the last Republican countywide official, County Clerk Catherine DiCostanzo, is seeking re-election. Democrats are expected to run Paula Sollami Covello, a Lawrence attorney whose father served many years as a Mercer County Freeholder. Her husband, John Covello, is the Chief of Staff to Edison Mayor George Spadoro.

In case you haven’t noticed