2019 General Election Roundup

Republicans Sweep Tuesday Elections

Harvey Cedars Commissioner Out By Four Votes
By Neal Roberts | Nov 05, 2019

Ocean County — Ocean County voters re-elected Republicans in the 9th Legislative District, on the county freeholder board and throughout the towns Tuesday. Meanwhile, some longtime local school board members lost their seats in Tuesday voting. And 354 Beach Haven voters defeated an open space preservation town tax – for the fourth time.

In what is termed an off-year general election, Assembly members Brian E. Rumpf and DiAnne C. Gove of the 9th District headed the ballots. They coasted to easy wins, better than 2-to-1, over Democrats Sarah Collins and Wayne Lewis.

Here is a summary of Election Day results from voters in the SandPaper readership area.

Barnegat Township: Republican incumbent Albert Bille staved off a challenge by Democrat Peg Houle to win a fourth three-year term on the Barnegat Township Commitee. Bille received 2,889 votes, while Houle collected 2,229.

“I’m glad the people in Barnegat still have confidence in me to keep doing what we’ve accomplished,” said Bille. “I also have to say that Peg was a really good candidate. I think she has a good future in Barnegat.”

Barnegat Board of Education. It appears voters wanted change on the board of education as the three candidates who ran under the slogan “A New Voice for Barnegat”  swept Tuesday’s election by winning three-year terms.

Sean O’Brien led all vote-getters with 1,919, followed by Robert Sawicki with 1,644 and Richard Quelch with 1,619. Both Quelch and Sawicki had previously run unsuccessfully, while O’Brien is a first-time candidate

Board President Scott Sarno fell short with 1,473 votes, followed by incumbent Peter Toth with 1,272 and a newcomer, Wayne Eslinger, who received 1,172. Sarno was seeking his third three-year term, while Toth was running for his second. Newcomer George Fedorczyk received 1,075. D.D. Verdolino received 700 votes.

Christine Harashinski did not seek a second three-year term.

Barnegat Light: Republican incumbents Frank Mikuletzky and Samuel Alloway were re-elected unopposed for three-year terms on the borough council.

Beach Haven: Beach Haven’s fourth attempt at asking voters to approve an open space preservation tax of 1 cent per $100 assessed property value was defeated, 214-140, the same answer that voters gave in the last three elections.

The tax would have resulted in a $60 increase on a home assessed at $600,000. Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis said the open space tax would allow the borough to preserve an area and keep it away from developers. Another benefit would be for making improvements to parks and playgrounds.

“It’s sad,’’ Davis said. “It’s a missed opportunity because we had a chance to get matching funds from (the state) Green Acres on park projects. But the voters have clearly said they don’t want it.”

Beach Haven Board of Education. Irene M. Hughes and Jean A. Frazier were elected unopposed for three-year terms.

Eagleswood Township: Michael J. Pasternak was re-elected unopposed for a three-year term on the township committee.

Eagleswood School Board of Education. Kelly Stover and Paul McMahon were elected unopposed for three-year terms.

Harvey Cedars: There will be two new members of the Harvey Cedars Borough Commission as Mayor Jonathan Oldham and challengers John Imperiale and Paul Rice won four-year terms on the three-member panel Tuesday.

Imperiale led all candidates with 154 votes, followed by Oldham with 133. Rice received 118 votes, edging Deputy Mayor Judy Gerkens, who had 114. Another challenger, Kathleen Ries, received 93 votes.

Oldham has been in office since 1991, Gerkens since 1987. Commissioner Michael Garofalo declined to seek a sixth term.

“I’m extremely grateful to my wife, Barbara, and my friends,” said Imperiale. “They made it happen. To have the most votes is an accomplishment that I did not expect. I will do my very best to serve the people in Harvey Cedars as a commissioner.”

Little Egg Harbor Township: Republican incumbent Barbara Jo Crea has retained her seat on the township committee by garnering 2,974 votes. Democrat candidate Leona Weigele received 1,236 votes without spending a penny on her campaign.

LEHT Board of Education. Theodore T. Kielb was the only candidate on the ballot for three open seats.

Long Beach Island Consolidated Board of Education. Voters in Barnegat Light and Long Beach Township elected Marilyn Wasilewski and Brielle Hoffacker to fill seats on the Long Beach Island Consolidated Board of Education.

Longtime school board member Wasilewski topped challenger Nancy Spark, 194 to 74, in Barnegat Light. Hoffacker won by a count of 560 to 459 in Long Beach Township, defeating Bonnie Picaro, who had served on the board for 33 years.

“I want to thank everyone for the support over the last few months, and, most importantly, thank you to Bonnie Picaro for all her hard work over the years,” Hoffacker said on election night. “I promise to work on behalf of the mission of our district. I’m excited to get started in January.”

Current Harvey Cedars representative James Donahower, meanwhile, is vacating his seat on the board. There were no official candidates running for his seat, but Fred Schragger had been campaigning as a write-in candidate. There were 62 write-in ballots counted. Write-in winners will be announced when the election results are finalized next week.

The school board is comprised of nine members: four from Long Beach Township, two from Surf City, and one each from Ship Bottom, Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light.

Those elected to the board will serve terms of three years, and will be tasked, in part, with deciding whether or not – and if so, how – to consolidate the district into one school building, something the board has been discussing for nearly 10 years. The board recently voted to table talk of consolidation until at least,after its scheduled December referendum, which will ask residents to vote on funding renovations to the LBI School.

Pinelands Regional Board of Education. Betti Anne McVey, an incumbent, won re-election to a three-year term with 1,704 votes. But the  school district will have three new board members in 2020. Thomas Rosetti (1,592) and August Daleo (1,545) earned three-year terms, defeating Michael J. Coffer and Maddalena Schemichen. Cofer earned 1,438 votes; Schemichen tallied 963.

Rachel Harper defeated incumbent A.J. Barchetto to fill an unexpired one-year term. Harper earned the support of 1,380 voters. Barchetto, who had been appointed to the seat in June by the board to replace Jeff Bonicky, who had unexpectedly resigned the month before, had 1,047 votes.

Ship Bottom: Republican incumbents Tom Tallon and Robert J. Butkus were re-elected unopposed for three-year terms on the borough council.

Southern Regional Board of Education. While Scott R. McDonough is on the way out at the end of the year, the Southern school board’s new member is James Donahower, who has spent the past four years on the Long Beach Island Board of Education. Donahower received 1,437 votes as one of two LBI representatives on the slate. R. Scott Zoladz was re-elected unopposed. Stafford representative Kevin C. Lyons also was re-elected unopposed.

Stafford Township Board of Education. The newcomer to the dais is Mark Zoladz, who will replace board vice president Richard Czajkowski, who opted to relinquish his seat at the end of the year following several terms on the board. Board President Walter Jauch and incumbent Joe Mangino were re-elected, as all three candidates ran unopposed.

Surf City: Longtime Republican incumbent Francis R. Hodgson was re-elected unopposed for another four-year term as mayor. Republican incumbents Peter M. Hartney and Jacqueline L. Siciliano were re-elected unopposed for three-year terms on the borough council.

Tuckerton: Two incumbent Republicans were challenged by a write-in candidate for one of two three-year terms on the borough council. Council President Sam Colangelo received the most votes, 442, while running mate Michael Santo garnered 419. Write-in candidate Paula Bell received 107 votes, representing independent party Tuckerton for Progress.

Tuckerton Board of Education. Patricia A. Horner and Deborah A. McMunn were the only candidates on the ballot for three open seats.

Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders: Voters re-elected Republican incumbents John P. Kelly and Virginia Haines by a 2-1 margin over Democrats Jean Czarkowski and David T. Wright.

Ocean County Sheriff: Michael Mastronardy, a Republican incumbent, was elected to a third three-year term with 79,294 votes, defeating Democrat Gene Davis, 34,128.

Ocean County voters also supported state and county referendum questions.

The state question, which involved property tax assessment relief for certain veterans, won over 71,101 voters. The county question, concerning allocating some Natural Lands Trust county tax money for maintenance work on such lands, passed 55,851 to 44,883.

Among Ocean County’s 412,313 registered voters, 97,503 went to the polls Tuesday. Another 21,643 mailed in absentee ballots, which in some cases may yet decide some low-vote, municipal or school board elections.

— Neal Roberts with staff reports

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