BARNEGAT, NJ – Last night, the Ocean County Clerk’s Office released preliminary numbers for two races in Barnegat.  Meanwhile, there are a couple of back stories that have their share of human interest.

Notably, only a little more than 5,000 registered voters took the time to vote during this particular election. According to the Barnegat Township Clerk, there are over 17,000 registered voters within the Township.

Republican incumbent Al Bille retained his seat on the Township Committee. When asked for comment, Bille replied “I want to thank the people of Barnegat for their confidence in me. I look forward to serving them as I have in the past for the next three years.”

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“I also want to congratulate my opponent for working very hard on her campaign,” continued Bille.

Not everyone realizes that Bille and his Democratic opponent Peg Houle are actually neighbors. They live just a few doors down from one another in Heritage Point.

As it turns out, the election results found Bille and Houle in close proximity once again. Neither the Republican nor Democratic committees realized they’d both selected the same restaurant to learn the ballot tallies.  Both gathered in separate rooms at the East Bay Italian Grille.

Of course, that made it easier for Houle to concede to Bille. He was just a few steps away. While it’s the overall number that matters, newcomer Houle did win four of the fifteen districts in the Township.

Barnegat Board of Education

 Board of Education candidates had a tough race ahead of them, as eight individuals competed for three seats. The two incumbents were unable to retain their positions.

Many don’t realize it, but candidates actually pull for their spot on the ballot. Statistically, it’s highly unusual for the bottom three on a list to achieve success.

However, that wasn’t the case in this year’s school board election in Barnegat.  Campaigning under the logo “A New Voice,” three newcomers will assume seats on the Board of Education next year. And, yes, their names were at the bottom of the list.

In January, Sean O’Brien, Robert Sawicki, and Robert Quelch, start off the year as school board members.

Sean O’Brien spoke on behalf of his team, ““We are super excited and looking to give our kids the best educational opportunity that we can,” said O’Brien.  “We are looking forward to working with the administration to accomplish all of the community’s goals.”

On behalf of TAPintoBarnegat, we thank all of the candidates who took time to work on behalf of the Barnegat community. We look forward to continuing to provide you with unbiased coverage going forward!

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at sfaughnan@tapinto.net.