It’s a first in decades, at least. A historically Republican-dominated governing body will change to an evenly split bi-partisan Fair Haven Borough Council dais in the New Year, according to the unofficial vote tally from the Monmouth County Board of Elections.
The team of Fair Haven-raised Democrats, Meghan Chrisner-Keefe and Mike McCue, have won the two seats up for grabs on council by a landslide, ousting 15-year Republican incumbent Jonathan Peters and his running mate GOP incumbent Jacqueline Rice, who was running for her first full term.
With a total of 3,060 votes cast in the borough, Chrysler-Keefe was the top vote-getter garnering 998, or roughly 33 percent. McCue earned 927 votes, or 30 percent.
Peters got 595 votes, or about 19 percent. Rice garnered 537. There were three write-ins.
With six seats on council, there are presently five Republicans and one Democrat. Christopher Rodriguez is the lone Democrat. Betsy Koch, Jim Banahan, Susan Sorensen, Rice and Peters are the Republicans. This election will change that to an even split along party lines among council members.
Mayor Ben Lucarelli is a Republican serving a four-year term. In this form of government, he presides over meetings, but does not vote, except in the case of a tie. While characteristically, the Democrats who have served as lone members of their party on the dais have not usually voted differently than their fellow Republican council members, if there is a partisan vote tie, Lucarelli will step in to cast the tie-breaking vote.