ROXBURY, N.J. - Roxbury School Board Member Richard Alexander went to sleep Tuesday night not knowing whether he won re-election to a second term on the board or lost to challenger Meredith Soranno.
Although the tally of Election Day votes showed Alexander having eight more than Soranno, the official results of the race will not be known until election officials count absentee and provisional ballots, a task that will begin Wednesday.
There was no such doubt about the other two seats on the board. Incumbent Carol Scheneck received 3,254 votes and re-election. Newcomer Dan Masi, who got 3,959 votes - the most votes of all candidates – will join her on the panel, taking a seat being vacated by Roxbury School Board Member Theresa D'Agostino.
Soranno ran on a team of political upstarts that also included Peter Okun and Lisa Millus. Okun finished the night with 2,450 votes while Millus received 2,520. A seventh candidate, Joyce Ferraro, trailed the pack with 1,597 votes.
Having received 3,100 votes to Alexander's 3,108, Soranno stayed hopeful as an exciting night ended at the Roxbury Municipal Building – where she, Okun and Millus watched as election results were posted. Okun said he was proud of the Okun-Millus-Sorrano team, known as Accountability, Commitment and Transparency (A.C.T.).
"I think that, for the first time running for office, I think we did pretty good," Okun said. "I think it was a great experience." He said he and his colleagues will stay involved in Roxbury education issues even if Sorrano doesn't come out ahead in the end.
Across town, Scheneck and Alexander gathered at the Succasunna home of Roxbury School Board Member Ron Lucas where – sitting at a big round table piled with snacks – they received minute-by-minute vote tally updates via phone from friends at town hall.
"I thought it would be close," Alexander said. "They did a good job of campaigning."
He said he didn't campaign as much this year as he did when he first ran for the board three years ago. "Last time, I ended up walking (door-to-door) a little bit more, getting out more," Alexander said. "This year, my mom was in the hospital. It was the nature of the beast this year."