WESTFIELD, NJ — Democrats swept the local election Tuesday night, turning an all-Republican town council into one with four Democrats and four Republicans headed by a Democratic mayor.
Democrat Shelley Brindle defeated Republican Andy Skibitsky, Westfield’s longest-serving mayor, 7,022 votes to 4,606.
For town council, in Ward 1, Linda Habgood (D) (2,017 votes) defeated incumbent Sam Della Fera (R) (1,157 votes). In Ward 2, Michael Dardia (D) (1,606 votes) defeated James Corcoran (R) (1,199 votes) for the seat currently occupied by Republican Ken Donnelly. In Ward 3, David Contract (D) (1,484 votes) defeated incumbent David Oliveira (R) (1,162 votes). And in Ward 4, Dawn Mackey (D) (1,644 votes) defeated Valerio Bruscianelli (LP) (19 votes) and incumbent Keith Loughlin (R) (1,229 votes).
For Westfield Board of Education, the winners are: Lynn Benner (3,475 votes), Kent Diamond (2,785 votes) and Peggy Oster (3,800 votes).
Election results, which include mail-in ballots, are unofficial until certification.
Westfield Democrats celebrated their victory among a crowd of supporters at Ferraro’s Restaurant in Downtown Westfield.
“I feel great,” Brindle said. “I feel so inspired. This win wasn’t about me. It’s about all of these people who put their heart and soul into this campaign. It was such a grassroots effort. It’s so amazing for me. I’m blown away by it.”
Voter turnout was 45 percent.
“Another big measure for me tonight was the high voter turnout,” Brindle said. “We got people to feel like their vote matters again.”
“The most important thing I want people to know is that you can run a political campaign that highlights the issues and the candidate’s qualifications and win in such a way that the community behind you helps move everything forward,” Brindle’s campaign manager, Ben Nanna, said.
With fellow Republicans at the James Ward Mansion Tuesday night, Mayor Skibitsky wished Brindle luck.
“It’s been an honor serving the town of Westfield for the past 15 years,” he said. “I’ve truly enjoyed the challenge and the experience. I’m so proud of the town’s employees and the shape that the town is in. I wish Mayor-Elect Shelley Brindle all the luck in the world and I hope she has as rewarding an experience as I have had for the past 12 years. This is a phenomenal town and I have been blessed to be mayor for such a long time.”