MADISON, NJ - Democrat Astri Baillie has unofficially won her sixth three-term for Madison Borough Town Council as has Democrat newcomer Debra Coen. Baillie attained 27.64% of the vote and Coen 26.60% of the vote. The Republican candidate Kathy Dailey garnered 23.14% of the vote and Mark Chiarolana 22.56%.
In the election to fill two seats on the Board of Education, Sarah Fischer won 36.31% of the vote, incumbent Thomas Piskula 30.15%, David Steketee 17.83% of the vote, and Curtis Gilfillan 15.33% of the vote. The top two candidates, Fischer and Piskula, are unofficially the winners and will be on the 2019-2020 Board of Education.
Mikie Sherrill was declared the winner of the House of Representatives for the 11th Congressional District in which Madison sits and her nearest competitor Jay Webber conceded. Sherrill won in each of the 14 voting districts in Madison Borough.
Mayor Bob Conley was on hand to celebrate the unofficial wins of Baillie and Coen. He opined that Baillie has served the Borough in so many capacities and voters appreciate that work. He further stated that Coen will continue that example of hard work set by Baillie. He attributed some of their success to the Sherrill effect at the top of the ticket. There will remain on the Borough Town Council 5 Democrats and 1 Republican. Council member Ben Wolkowitz had announced that when his term ends this year, he was not running again. Patrick Rowe, Council President, is the sole Republican on the Council.
Conley opined that Sherrill benefited from Trump dissatisfaction and noted that she brings to the table many attributes including being a veteran, pilot, prosecutor and someone who can work across the aisle. Conley does not believe the Trump factor affected the more local elections.
Deb Coen described her win as “surreal.” She attributed her success to canvassing door-to-door and running on Madison issues. She is a 14-year resident and has three children in the Borough’s public schools – one in the High School and twins in 8th grade.
Baillie has been a life-long Madison resident. She attributed her win with Coen to being highly organized with a substantial platform. They promoted keeping taxes low, services up, and infrastructure projects without incurring debt. She stated that they support all the “things that make Madison special, its downtown, its parks, its recreational facilities.”
Republican candidate Kathy Dailey, Vice President of the Borough’s Republican Committee, stated that she is proud of her campaign and praised the process that had little acrimony. She further stated that she would like less acrimony on the national stage. Mark Chiarolana, the other Republican candidate, has run for Town Council twice before. He is a sheriff in Morris County. They both feel that dissatisfaction with President Trump may have harmed their chances of winning, because many voters simply voted straight across the Democratic line. They feel it is “narrow-minded to bring the national scene to bear on a local election.” Dailey stated that she ran because she feels there many voices in the Borough that were not being heard or represented. She stated that she will continue to attend Town Council meetings and express her voice even if she does not have a vote. Chiarolana explained that he ran because he enjoys public service and would like to participate in developing policy for the betterment of the community.