MADISON, NJ – Democrats Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz won the race for Madison Borough Council, defeating Republican challengers John Hoover and Carmen Pico by a margin of some 300 votes, according to the preliminary numbers.
The Morris County Clerk’s office reported the preliminary numbers as 3,148 for Baillie; 3,123 for Wolkowitz; 2,854 for Hoover; and 2,728 for Pico.
In a celebration at the clubhouse of Madison Commons, Baillie said her belief in Madison was proven right by the election results.
“Ben and I ran a great campaign,” she said. “I’m so glad to be a part of the council. We have our work cut out for us, but we’ll bring the community back together.”
She said she is particularly proud that she and Wolkowitz ran a clean campaign.
“We stuck to the issues, and we ran a clean race,” she said.
Wolkowitz said he also is looking forward to “putting Madison back together.”
“Obviously the town has gone through a couple of difficult years, but we’re going to pull together and put the town back together,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Republicans gathered at Poor Herbie’s to await the results. When the numbers handed the victory to the Democrats, Hoover and Pico said they are still proud of their campaign and the support they received from Madison.
“I’ve never done this before, and the support we got was just amazing,” Hoover said. “We fought a long, hard fight. We did everything we could have done. I wish the new council members well.”
Pico said even though he was defeated, he’s pleased with how many people voted for him.
“I even lost 10 pounds walking door to door,” he joked. “So even though I lost the election, I also lost weight.”
He said he’s not upset at the defeat, although he does question why Drew University students are allowed to vote in the local election, particularly since candidates are not allowed to campaign on campus.
“But I don’t have a negative thought in my head,” Pico said. “I’m glad I ran and I’m glad people came out and voted.”
In the race for Madison Board of Education, Lisa Ellis received 3,475 votes while Kevin Blair brought in 3,063 votes, and Brenda Catalanello received 2,033 votes.