FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Unofficial results are in, and voters in Fanwood have given Mayor Colleen Mahr (D) an unprecedented fifth term. Running unopposed, Mahr focused her reelection efforts on the successes of downtown development in the Borough, including Fanwood's recent recognition as "Best Small Town in New Jersey" by New Jersey Monthly magazine. She led all candidates with 1,279 votes.
Kathy Mitchell (D), Fanwood’s longest serving Councilperson, was the top vote-getter (1,113 votes) among the five candidates running this year. Newcomer Francine Glaser, the other Democratic candidate on the ballot, earned 1,033 votes and will take over the seat that belonging to outgoing Council President Tom Kranz, who declined to seek a third term.
Republican Brian Walter, who has now run unsuccessfully in the past three elections, had 522 votes, while running mate Jay Morris had 587. Walter and Morris failed to generate much momentum for their ticket. They did not to have a booth at Fanny Wood Day in mid-September, an important event in town that takes place just as the election season go underway. The challengers had fewer signs and a much smaller budget than their Democratic opponents.
While no debates were scheduled, Walter and Morris missed opportunities to be seen at Council meetings and talk about issues during the weeks and months leading to the election. In doing so, they might have made their candidacies better known by speaking during the public comment portion of the Fanwood meetings, which are often televised.
Councilman Jeff Banks (1,181 votes) ran unopposed to finish the year remaining on the unexpired term that belonged to Russ Huegel, whom Banks replaced on the Council. (Huegel now serves in a paid position as Borough Attorney. Fanwood Council members and the Mayor are essentially volunteers who are paid $1 a year.)
There were no municipal elections this year in Scotch Plains. Next year, the seats belonging to Mayor Al Smith and Councilman Ted Spera, both Republicans, will be up for reelection in 2020.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education members Stephanie Suriani and Nancy Bauer (Scotch Plains) and Amy Winkler (Fanwood) all ran unopposed to keep their BOE seats. (Scott Brelinsky, whose name was on the ballot, dropped out of the race.)
Polls closed at 8:00 p.m.
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