The votes are in; and the Republican incumbents in both the Rumson and Fair Haven Borough Council races have kept their seats, according to the unofficial tallies (not counting provisional and absentee ballots) from the Monmouth County Board of Elections.
It’s election day 2016; and the choices at the polls in the Rumson-Fair Haven area are a mix of longtime incumbents, newcomer challengers and one mainstay …
Fair Haven Borough Council
The incumbents …
Republican sitting councilmen Rowland Wilhelm Jr. and Jonathan Peters are hoping to keep their council seats on the six-member, weak mayor strong borough council form of government dais. There is a lone Democrat serving on the present GOP-dominated council.
Wilhelm and Peters are running on a “Family Friendly — Fiscally Prudent” platform which touts experience, preservation and fiscal responsibility.
The Democratic challengers …
Rodriguez’ wife, Karen, is running for the Fair Haven Board of Education.
The two seek to break the long-time Republican majority on council with what they have said is a non-partisan, unifying mission to serve and represent residents.
Rumson Borough Council
Two seats are up for grabs on the six-member dais in Rumson. The two Republican incumbents, Joseph Hemphill and Laura Attwell are being challenged by Democrat Michael Steinhorn, who has run for local mayoral and council office several times and has made a bid for Monmouth County Surrogate as well as clerk.
Hemphill, a longtime resident, has served on council for 10 years. Atwell, also a longtime resident, has served for the past three.
The two, according to their campaign brochure are running on a platform of experience and accomplishment.
Atwell has served as the council’s liaison for the borough’s Department of Public Works and the Historic Preservation Commission.
Fair Haven Board of Education
There are five candidates running for the three Fair Haven Board of Education seats up for grabs on the nine-member dais. They are: Karen Rodriguez, Carol Lang, Sherri D’Angelo, incumbent Marisa Coar and Ellen Iovino.
The only seated BOE member who is running again is Marisa Coar. Michael Bernstein and Jeff Spector’s terms expire in December of 2016. Both opted to not run again.
Rumson Board of Education
There are two uncontested seats up for grabs on the nine-member board in Rumson. They are those of: Diane MacGillis and Elaine Melia.
By Elaine Van Develde
Fair Haven Board of Education President Mark Mancuso has lost his bid for re-election, leaving contenders Bennett Coleman, Michelle Buckley and Charlie Jakub filling the three seats up for grabs on the nine-member board.
Mancuso first came to the board by filling an unexpired term five years ago. He will be finishing the end of his second full term on the dais by the year’s end.
The highest vote-getter in the election, which brought out 3,299 voters, was Coleman, with 847. Buckley garnered 655 votes and Jakub 632, according to the unofficial tallies of the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office.
Five vied for the three seats. In addition to Mancuso, Marisa Coar did not win her bid for election. She won 615 votes, or roughly 19 percent, while Mancuso had the least amount of votes cast on his ballot — 540, or about 16 percent.
There were 10 write-ins.
The race for three board seats in the Rumson School District was uncontested.
Three ran for three seats.
With a total of 1,595 votes cast, John Connors got the highest number of votes, 533, or more than 33 percent. Charles ”Chuck” Jones III won 532, or just more than 33 percent. And Margaret Simons got 514 votes, or 32 percent, the vote tallies of the Clerk’s Office said.
There were 16 write-ins.
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
With three seats up for grabs, only two incumbent candidates ran uncontested to fill them.
Lourdes Lucas and Sarah Maris (both representing Fair Haven) won new terms with 874 and 869 votes, respectively.
Teresa Liccardi, M.D., Rumson representative, did not seeking re-election.
So, there will be an empty seat to be filled.
There were 55 write-ins for that seat.
By Elaine Van Develde
Republican incumbents kept their seats on Fair Haven Borough Council by a comfortable margin, with 2,339 votes cast, or more than half the estimated 4,000 registered voters in the borough.
With newcomer Democrat Shervyn von Hoerl vying for one of the two three-year governing body terms up for grabs, a win for him would have put a long-unprecedented two Democrats on the dais.
He did not succeed. The challenger, von Hoerl ended up with 621 votes, or nearly 27 percent of the vote.
The high vote-getter in the race was Councilman Eric Jaeger, with 876, or more than 37 percent.
Jaeger’s running mate Robert Marchese won his third term to council with 834 votes, or roughly 36 percent.
There were eight write-ins.
Fair Haven’s form of government is a Borough Council form. In this form of municipal government, there are six council members with three-year terms and a mayor with a four-year term.
While the mayor presides over meetings, he does not vote, unless to break a tie.
The mayor does, however, have veto power.
By Elaine Van Develde
Familiar challenger Michael Steinhorn tried again, but did not succeed in ousting longtime Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl.
With 864 votes cast in the mayoral race, Ekdahl ended up with 565 of them, or more than 65 percent.
Steinhorn, a Democrat who has long attempted to break the longtime Republican stronghold on the governing body, garnered 294 votes, or 34 percent.
There were five write-in candidate votes.
Ekdahl will begin his fourth four-year term as mayor in January.
Incumbent Republican Borough Councilmen Marc Rubin and John Conklin won uncontested three-year seats on the dais, garnering 623 and 629 votes, respectively. A total of 1,276 votes were cast for the council race.
There were 24 write-ins.
Rumson is run with a Borough Council, or Mayor and Council form of government.
As with Fair Haven, the governing body has six council members and a presiding mayor. The mayor runs the meetings, but does not vote unless there is a tie.
He has veto power.
With two Fair Haven Borough Council seats up for grabs, a lone Democrat is vying to oust one of two Republican incumbents.
Those GOP incumbents are Robert Marchese and Eric Jaeger. The last time the two ran on a ticket together was the year Hurricane Sandy hit — 2012. Marchese is seeking election to a full third three-year term. Jaeger, who began serving in 2012 to fill an unexpired term, is seeking a full second.
Longtime Rumson GOP Mayor John Ekdahl is going for his fourth term as mayor facing familiar Democrat Michael Steinhorn.
By Elaine Van Develde
Historically, officials in Rumson can’t remember a time when a Democrat or independent sat on the governing body.
There has, however, been one consistent candidate for Borough Council for many years now — Michael Steinhorn.
This election was no exception. With two seats up for grabs — those of Republican incumbents Benjamin Day Jr. and Shaun P. Broderick — Steinhorn again threw his hat into the status quo ring, attempting to mix it up on the dais.
Garnering 512 votes, or 16.5 percent of the votes this time around, he failed. His campaign was characteristically low profile.
The top vote-getter in the Rumson council race was Day, with 1,313 votes, or roughly 42 percent of the votes. Broderick won 1,265 votes, or about 41 percent.
There were nine write-ins.
By Elaine Van Develde
The unofficial results are in and they’re showing that, for the first time in more than a decade, the all-Republican hold on Fair Haven’s governing body has been broken.
Newcomer to the local political scene, Aimee Humphreys, has unseated longtime Republican incumbent Jerome Koch.
With what was considered a good voter turnout for mid-term elections at the borough polls, according to Monmouth County Board of Elections’ results tally, Humphreys beat Koch by more than 100 votes — her 1079 to his 963.
The high vote getter in the council race was Susan Sorensen, who won her second three-year seat on the dais with 1,216 votes, or roughly 37 percent to Humphreys’ approximate 33.
Total votes cast for the council race were 3,268.
There were five write-ins. And as “unofficial” results dictate, provision and absentee ballots have not all been counted.
Republican Mayor Ben Lucarelli has won his uncontested bid for re-election with 1,354 votes. There were 25 write-ins.
The last time the GOP hold on the dais was broken was when Joseph Szostak won his independent bid for mayor in 2002. He served one term through 2006 when former Mayor Michael Halfacre won the mayoral election.
He served until 2012, or one-and-a-half terms, when he stepped down upon being appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to serve as director of the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Watch for a follow-up interview with the newest member of the governing body and Sorensen.
By Elaine Van Develde
They apparently just haven’t had enough.
That’s why Fair Haven and Rumson borough council incumbents are running for additional three-year terms on their respective governing bodies — and largely unopposed.
Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli faces no competition for his first full four-year term. Lucarelli filled former Mayor Michael Halfacre’s unexpired term when he was appointed director of the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in January of 2012. The current mayor then won the uncontested election to finish Halfacre’s term through 2013 in November of the same year.
Newcomer Democratic candidate Aimee Humphreys is vying for one of two seats up for grabs on Fair Haven’s Borough Council. Running a lower-profile campaign, she is attempting to unseat either Susan Sorensen or Jerome Koch, both Republicans, on a platform of lowering municipal taxes and fighting reassessments. Humphreys was unavailable as of press time.
Sorensen is competing for her second term on council and Koch has served since 2002.
The two are running on a platform of experience and track records in office for keeping municipal taxes flat for six years, garnering $3.5 million in grants to offset the cost of capital improvements and more. They say, in their campaign literature, that they would like to “continue to run our borough like a successful business.”
In Rumson, Republican incumbents Shaun P. Broderick and Benjamin W. Day Jr. are vying to keep their seats on council.
Their only competition is Democrat Michael Steinhorn, who has attempted to break the characteristically longstanding Republican hold on the governing body several times and lost.
Steinhorn also ran for Monmouth County Surrogate in 2011 and lost to incumbent and former Middletown Mayor Rosemarie Peters.
The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at all the regular polling places in both boroughs.