Swartz, Kelly Win Republican Primary; Abbott Misses by 13 Votes; Hetrick Joins Race as Independent

It was a razor-thin victory for Karen Swartz (left) and Mike Kelly (right). Both beat out incumbent Kathy Abbott (middle) by 23 and 13 votes, respectively. Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - Karen Swartz and Mike Kelly were the victors when the votes were counted in the Republican Primary held Tuesday for two seats on the Chatham Township Committee.

Swartz won with 644 votes, followed by Kelly with 634. Incumbent Kathy Abbott received 621 votes and Peter Fico ended with 472.

Swartz and Kelly will represent the Republican ticket in the November election. There are no Democrats on the ballot. But there will be a race since Jeff Hetrick gained enough signatures to earn a place on the ballot as an independent. Therefore, it will be a three-way race for two seats in November.

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"It has been a very good race and a very closely contended one," Swartz said. "This just goes to show that every vote really does matter. Often we feel that the tides of our governing bodies wash over us without even knowing we exist. Yet here in Chatham Township and Green Village the very opposite is true. At this level, every vote did matter."

Soon after winning, Swartz learned that Hetrick will run as an independent.

"I better make sure I save my signs," Swartz said. "The more voices we have, the better. The bottom line is that it's about what's best for Chatham Township and Green Village."

Kelly was happy to win, but regretted the loss of Abbott, whom he had campaigned with as one ticket.

"I'm sorry that Kathy did not win," Kelly said. "I think she's excellent and anything based on the merits says she should have won. The voters have spoken.

"I've been knocking on doors for six weeks solid and that's probably what made the difference for me. I want to say 'thank you' to the voters and I look forward to running in November."

Swartz currently serves on the township planning board and Kelly is a member of the environmental commission. Kelly is the former publisher and editor of the Independent Press.








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