Updated as of 8 a.m. on November 7 with a district breakdown of the Belmar vote and a look at how borough resident voted in state and county elections
BELMAR, NJ — With the Republicans’ clean sweep on Election Day, the GOP is about to take control of Belmar’s municipal government come January.
Republican Councilman Mark Walsifer defeated incumbent Democrat Brian Magovern to become Belmar mayor, as running mates Patricia Wann and James McCracken also scored victories over Democratic incumbents on the borough council, according to unofficial election results.
Walsifer registered 1,393 votes to Magovern’s 1,186 votes. Newcomer Wann tallied 1,336 votes to topple Councilwoman Jennifer Nicolay with 1,197 votes, as newcomer McCracken garnered 1,334 votes, defeating Councilman Mark Levis with 1,196 votes.
When Walsifer is sworn into office as mayor in January, his departure will create a vacancy on the governing body, which will be filled by the GOP for the remaining year of his unexpired term. This will leave Councilman Thomas Brennan as the sole Democrat on the four-member governing body.
In a district-by-district look at the vote, all three GOP candidates emerged as the top vote-getters in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5, while the Democrats won the majority of the vote in District 3. (See below for the district breakdown.)
While the current tallies include 377 mail-in ballots, the vote-by-mail ballot count will continue until 8 p.m. on November 8. A new state law allows mail-in ballots to be received by the Board of Elections up to 48 hours after close of the polls, provided the ballot is postmarked on Election Day, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office Election Division.
Vote totals will be updated to include mail-in and provisional ballots as they become available.
During an election night gathering at La Dolce Vita, the GOP candidates thanked their supporters and said they were looking forward to “putting Belmar back on track.”
The Belmar Vote in School Board, State and County Races
In the Belmar Board of Education race, three candidates running unopposed were elected to full three-year terms — incumbents Lisa Miller with 1,382 votes, and Michele Lomas with 1,335 votes and newcomer Kristin Karr with 1,305 votes. Incumbent Joanne Gray, who tallied 1,452 votes, will fill a one-year unexpired term. All candidates ran unopposed.
Looking at the Belmar vote in the state and county elections, the Republicans candidates were the top vote-getters.
While Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez won his re-election bid, his GOP challenger Bob Hugin outpaced him in Belmar, with Hugin receiving 1,281 votes to 1,057 for Menendez.
In longtime Republican Congressman Chris Smith’s successful bid to retain his Fourth District seat, he garnered 1,288 votes in Belmar, while unsuccessful Democratic contender Josh Welle received 1,201 votes in the borough.
In the Monmouth County freeholder race, the Belmar vote tallies for the projected winning GOP candidates were 1,249 for Susan Kiley and 1,270 for Gerry Scharfenberger. Democratic challengers Amber Gesslein received 1,124 votes and Larry Luttrell 1,187 votes. Incumbent Freeholder John Curley received 93 votes in Belmar. He ran as an independent after allegations of sexual harassment thwarted his bid on the Republican ticket.
While projections show that New Jersey voters approved a $500 million bond issue for vocational training, security updates and water infrastructure improvements at New Jersey’s educational institutions, 1,160 voters in Belmar voted against the referendum, compared to 1,113 who voted for the measure.
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