Home>Highlight>More than 50 local, county races still too close to call

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More than 50 local, county races still too close to call

By Nikita Biryukov, November 16 2020 4:35 pm

Roughly four dozen local races stretching across 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties remain too close to call almost two weeks after election day.

They’ll likely be decided soon — election results must be certified by Friday, though judges offered some counties a one-week extension to the certification deadline during the state’s July primaries.

Campaigns will have until 11:59:59 p.m. on Friday to file for a recount, and voters who returned faulty ballots have until Wednesday to cure them.


In Atlantic County, Democratic Freeholder Caren Fitzpatrick leads the race for two at-large seats on the board with 67,153 votes. Republican incumbent John Risley is in second with 66,070, putting him just 468 votes ahead of Democrat Celeste Fernandez (65,602). Somers Point Councilman James Toto has 64,216 votes.

Democrat Thelma Witherspoon narrowly leads Andrew Parker, 14,949-14,671, for Freeholder Ashley Bennett’s District 3 seat.

The race for an at-large council seat in Somers Point is similarly close. There, Republican Joseph McCarrie is up over Levi Fox by just 45 votes, 2,687-2,732.

The margin is even tighter in the race for Absecon’s Ward 1 council seat, where Democratic Councilwoman Betty Howell leads Republican challenger Nicholas LaRotonda by just 25 votes.

There’s a competitive non-partisan race in Longport. Incumbents Daniel Lawler, Nick Russo and James Leeds of the “We Love Longport” slate have 300, 298 and 287 votes, respectively. That means Leeds is ahead of challenger James Ulmer by just 16 votes.


Democratic Rochelle Park Councilwoman Linda Boniface is tied for second place with her running mate Michael Warren. Each has 1,391 votes, putting them just 17 behind Republican Perrin Mosca. Mosca’s running mate, Delmer Thomas Grigsby has 1,367 votes.

In Carlstadt, Republican incumbents Joseph Emerson (1,527) and James Lenoy (1,514) hold a slim lead over Democrat Jarrett Milligan (1,454). Luis Venegas, the Milligan’s running mate, is out of contention with 1,313 votes.

Hasbrouck Heights Councilman Christopher Hillman is in first place with 3,216 there. Republican Michael Sickels leads Democrat Adam Mucci by 21 votes, 3,147-3,126, for Councilman Justin DiPisa’s seat. Republican Robert Bing is a little further behind with 3,060 votes.

The race is similarly tight in Norwood, where Republican Councilman Paul Haberman is in third place for two council seats with 1,526 votes, just 10 ahead of challenger Laura Gurunathan. Democrat Annie Hausmann is in first with 1,612, while Republican B.J. Kim, who is running for Councilman Barry Scott’s seat, has 1,595.

In Paramus, just 25 votes separate Republican Councilman Chris DiPiazza (7,392) and Democratic Councilwoman Mariaelena Bellinger (7,367). Democratic challenger Dominick Minvervini has 7,076 votes, meaning it’s not unthinkable that he could eke out a win. Republican Michael Rohdieck has 6,990 votes.

Though Republicans challengers William Fenwick (2,734) and John Cozzi (2,711) lead in Park Ridge, Councilman Michael Mintz (2,597) still has a shot at a seat.


Bellmawr Councilman James D’Angelo (2,676) has likely been re-elected, but running mate Johann Fina is tied for second with independent challenger Bill Groff. Each has 2,537 votes. Sandy Valdez, another independent, has 2,441 votes.

The race for an unexpired Berlin Council term is also close. Jake Miller leads Patricia cummings, 1904-1,877 in that non-partisan race.

In Waterford, Democratic incumbents Richard Yeatman (2,918) and Rita Hanna (2,896) narrow leads over Republican challengers David Chiddenton (2,850) and Thomas Giangiulio, Jr. (2,860).

There’s also a close race for Winslow’s Ward 1 Township Committee seat. There, Republican Charles Leps leads Democratic incumbent Edward Pleczynski 2,462-2,382.

Cape May

There’s a tie for in Cape May Point. Anita VanHeeswyk and Mary Kelly each have 88 votes there, meaning they’re tied for the third of three council seats up for a race.


Freeholder races here remain tight. Democratic incumbents Carol Musso (29,206) and George Castellini (29,082) lead, with former freeholder Donna Pearson (28,786) not far behind. Republican Victoria Lods has 27,149 votes. She’s the only member of her party still in the running.


In North Caldwell, Democratic challengers Anthony Florio-Callori (2,170) and Matthew Atlas (2,150) hold narrow leads over Republican incumbents Cynthia Santomauro (2,055) and John Chiaia (2,062).

Roseland Councilwoman Michele Tolli appears headed to re-election as a Republican. She has 2,033 votes to Democratic Councilman Christopher Bardi’s 2,003. Republican Aristotle Popolizio has 1,915 votes, while Democrat Matthew Biront has just 1,746.

West Orange Councilwoman Michelle Casalino’s 9,262 votes will win her re-election, and it’s likely challenger Tammy Williams’ 8,700 votes are enough to do the same. The race for the third council seat is in a different state of play. Bill Rutherford leads Monica Perkowski 8,531-8,259. Councilman Jerry Guarino’s re-election bid earned just 6,462 votes.


Independent incumbent Julie DeLaurentis leads Republican challenger Daniel Ross by just 25 votes in Harrison, 3,089-3,064.

Monroe Ward 4 Councilman Joe Marino trails Republican challenger Chelsea Valcourt by 59 votes, 2,430-2,371.

The race for council in National Park is similarly close. There, Democratic Councilman Lawrence Prelle leads challenger Marguerite Silineo 811-784. Democrat Jason Bish is in first with 975 votes.

One of the two Pitman council seats up for a race this year is still in play. Councilman Matt Weng leads Republican Christopher Wilson 2,776-2,704 there.

In Woolwich, Mayor Vernon Marino has 3,709 votes to Republican Dennis Callahan’s 3,738. Jonathan Fein, the other Republican running there has 3,631 votes, while Democrat Marla Deluca Curran has 3,514.


Republican challenger trails Clinton Town Coucnilwoman Megan Johnson by just 20 votes, 886-866. Councilwoman Rielly Karsh, also a Democrat, has 895 votes.


In Dunellen, Democratic Councilwoman Jessica Dunne is in first with 1,543 votes. Her running mate, Tremayne Reid, has a less safe 1,396. Republican challenger Kelly Saeder has 1,314 votes, while GOP Councilman Kenneth Bayer has 1,303.

In South river, Republican incumbent James Gurchensky holds a narrow lead with 2,749 votes. Democrat Julie Meira is in second with 2,733 votes. Republican David Rein is in third with 2,634 votes, while Democrat Shawn haussermann has 2,597.


Democratic Belmar Councilman Thomas Brennan Leads Republican Jodi Kinney 1,492-1,416.

In Eatontown, the margins sit on a razor’s edge. Democrat Danielle Jones is in first with 3,232 votes. That puts her just 20 votes in front of Republican Councilman Mark Regan (3,212), who himself leads Democratic Challenger Mariel Hufnagel (3,199) by 13 votes. Republican James Corcoran has 3,089 votes.

Democratic challenger Laline Neff leads Fair Haven Councilwoman Susan Sorensen, 2,194-2,127. Democratic incumbent Christopher Rodriguez is in first with 2,442 votes.

In Highlands, Michael Warren trails Donald Melnyk 1,114-1,065, with Vincent DeSantis (1,039) not far behind. Jo-Anne Olszewski is safely in the lead with 1,372 votes.

The race for an at-large council seat in Howell remains too close to call. Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell leads Democratic challenger Andre de Garmeaux 15,326-15,025.

It’s also too early to declare victors in Keyport, where Republican Lori Davidson leads the pack with 1,867 votes. Democrat Kathleen McNamara is in second with 1,813, then Republican Suleyman Kilic narrowly leads Democrat Sophia Lamberson 1,759-1,746.

In Manasquan, Democratic incumbent Michael Mangan narrowly leads Republican Patricia Connolly, 2,214-2,169. Democratic Councilman Jeffrey Lee is safely in first with 2,473 votes.

Races for Neptune City Council are neck and neck. Democratic incumbents Pamela Renee and Glen Kocsis lead with 1,341 and 1,309 votes, respectively. Republican challenger Robert Burr (1,296) is just 13 votes behind Kocsis, while Republican Michaela O’Brien has 1,255 votes.

The race for a one-year unexpired council term in Neptune City is even closer. There, Democrat John Pietrunti leads Republican incumbent Brian Sullivan by just seven votes, 1,306-1,299.


In Chatham Township, Republicans Ashley Felice (3,370) and Mark Hamilton (3,345) lead Democrats Amee Shah (3,203) and Philip Ankel (3,173).

Republican incumbents Sal Cortese (2,096) and Art Bruhn (2,091) lead Democrat Cara Parmigiani, who has 1,908 votes.

In Mountainlakes, Democratic incumbent Lauren Barnett holds a safe lead with 1,548 votes. Her running mates, Khizar Sheikh (1,400) and Councilwoman Cynthia Korman (1,327) are less safe. Republican Christopher Richter is just five votes behind Korman. Republican Jane Hayward has 1,300 votes, while Nathaniel Fitch has 1,263.


Republican incumbents Sandford Ross and Edward Murray hold paper-thin leads over Democratic challengers in South Toms River. Murray’s 725 votes put him just 10 votes ahead of George Rutzler (715). With 721 votes, Ross is even worth off. Democrat Jameal Calhoun has 709 votes.


The race in Paterson’s second ward remains too close to call, though it’s less close than it was in May. Councilman Shahin Khalique leads challenger Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman 2,576-2,495. A judge ordered the race rerun after it ended in a tie in May.


Republican challenger Edward Ramsay leads Democratic Freeholder Charles Hassler 16,236-15,513 in a race that remains too close to call.

Democratic Surrogate Nicki Burke is ahead of Republican Beth McCarthy Patrick 16,187-15,453.

Just 20 votes separate Democratic Alloway Township Committee Warren Morgan (1,040) and Republican challenger Brian Leady (1,020).

Though Carneys Point Township Committeeman Ken Brown, a Democrat, appears to have won re-election with 1,813 votes, Charles Newton, another Democratic incumbent, trails Republican Dave Sparks 1,659-,1594.

Republican challenger Heather Bobbitt (984) has likely succeeded in winning a Democratic Council seat in Woodstown, but the race for the other seat is too close to call. Republican James Hacket is nine votes ahead of Councilman John Hall, 899-890. Democratic incumbent Valeria Spence Lacy has 867 votes.


There’s fewer than 50 votes separating first and fourth place in Green Brook’s Township Committee races. Democratic challenger Matthew Stanisci (2,025) is in first, while Republican incumbent James Benscoter (2,006) is in second. The other GOP office holder, Francis Gaffney, has 1,981 votes, while Democrat Bryan Murdock has 1,976.

Democratic Incumbent Pablo Orozco leads in Raritan with 1,765 votes. His running mate, Melissa Harris, is in second with 1,712 votes. Republican challengers Christine Torres (1,695) and Kenneth DiGraziano (1,657) aren’t far behind.

The race for an unexpired council term in Raritan is similarly close. Republican incumbent Michael Patente leads Dianne Bautista 1,729-1,693.


Michelle Teets leads in Newton’s council races with 1,114 votes. John-Paul Couce, who ran on a rival slate in the non-partisan election, is in second with 1,090. Helen Le Frois, Teets’ running mate, has 1,054 votes.


Republican Berkeley Heights Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley is in first with 4,044 votes. Her running mate, Jeffrey Varnerin, leads Democratic incumbent Susan Poage 3,939-3,858.

Republican challengers narrowly lead Democratic incumbents in Kenilworth. Fred Pugliese is in first with 1,952 votes, while Scott Pentz leads Councilman Lawrence Clementi 1,931-1,919. Councilman Jose Lopez is in last with 1,824 votes.


Just two vote separate candidates for a council seat in Alpha. Democratic incumbent Tracy Grossman leads Republican challenger Louis Cartabona 486-484. Republican Robert Melick won 744 votes. Democrats only ran one candidate here.

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