GOP Maintains Stronghold in Rumson

The unofficial vote tallies are in from the Monmouth County Board of Elections, showing that Rumson’s governing body will remain all Republican.

For the first time in many years, Democrats challenged incumbents with a team. And with stronger numbers than usual at the polls for Democratic challengers in the borough, the Republican incumbents still maintained their seats.

The uncontested run for a one-year unexpired term got James Kingsbery 2,393 votes. There were 24 write-ins. In the contested race that pitted two GOP incumbents against the team of Democrats, incumbent Republican Councilman John Conklin garnered the highest amount of votes with 1,889. Conklin was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Joseph Hemphill, who was appointed mayor when John Ekdahl retired a few months ago.

The second highest vote-getter was Mark Rubin with 1,764.

Democrat challengers Sarah Orsay and Marnie Doherty won 1,497and 1,485 votes, respectively.

The Orsay-Doherty team issued the following response to the election results:

“The unofficial results* show that the Trail Blazers lost to the Blue Blazers, but we gave them a run for their money – literally! (We estimate our opponents outspent us at least 4:1.)

“The top and bottom lines of this chart reflect what our town Council elections normally look like – GOP Hand-picked appointees running unopposed and “winning” by 98%.

“Our campaign changed that result, forced the incumbents to work for their seats, and we are proud to have offered our fellow residents a choice. We believe our campaign raised awareness of what our Council does and does not do, let residents know that they do have a say, and we believe that having a competitive local election increased voter turnout overall.

“We sincerely hope that this year was just the first in what will be annual competitive town elections, because the residents of Rumson deserve to have a choice.

“We are so grateful to everyone for their support and encouragement! We had A LOT of help along the way and it is no exaggeration to say that we would have been nowhere without the extensive team effort.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!”

There was one write-in for council in the contested race.

Mayor Joseph Hemphill garnered 2,518 votes in his uncontested run for a full four-year mayoral term. There were 39 write-in votes cast.

There was nearly a 56 percent voter turnout in Monmouth County this election.

The Monmouth County Board of Elections cautions on its website that “due to the new vote by mail law, the mail in ballot count will continue after Election Day. The new law allows mail in ballots to be received by the Board of Election up to 48 hours after close of the polls, provided the ballot is post marked on Election Day.”

While election night mail-in ballots are 80 percent processed as of 10:40 p.m., tallies of late mail-in ballots are pending as are provisionals.