Fried could challenge Hughes in 2011

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes is not up for reelection until 2011, but one potential Republican challenger has already surfaced: Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried.

“I can tell you that lots of people have asked me. It’s always nice to be considered for things, but right now I’m very focused on being mayor,” said Fried, who was sworn in for his second full term as mayor in July.

Fried, who runs a human resources company, also said that his two young children would factor into his decision on whether or not to run.

Hughes, who was elected in 2003 after Republicans held the county executive post for 24 years, has not officially announced that he will seek another term but is expected to eventually.

“I am concerned that county government has gotten too big,” said Fried. “If my town were in Monmouth County, which is right next door, taxes would be 50% lower.”

Mercer County, however, is tough territory for Republicans. Democrats hold every county-wide office, and Gov. Jon Corzine carried it by a larger margin than he did in 2005, despite losing ground in other traditionally Democratic counties. Fried could challenge Hughes in 2011