BURLINGTON COUNTY: Bordentown race undecided

Fieldsboro mayor stays, Springfield voters reject referendum

   Area voters turned out Tuesday for a number of contested local races.
   According to unofficial numbers from municipal clerks, all but one race appears decided.
   One seat still is up in the air in Bordentown Township where Republican challengers are leading the pack.
   Republican Anita DiMattia took the sole definite win for one of the two three-year seats available this year with 1,671 votes. Republican newcomer Michael Dauber appeared Tuesday evening to be in second place with 1,570 votes, according to unofficial results from the township clerk’s office.
   But with 165 mail-in ballots left to be counted, incumbent Democrat Jim Cann could pull ahead — he had 1,506 votes. Democratic challenger Stephen Monson came in fourth with 1,411 votes. The county will have to certify the results, which could take a week or more, Township Clerk Colleen Eckert said.
   ”I am pretty happy about this,” Ms. DiMattia said Tuesday night. “I feel that both Mike and I ran a good, clean, solid campaign, and Jim and Steve did a great job. Unfortunately, two people have to win, and two have to lose. I thank Bordentown Township, I’m happy to have won, and both Mike and myself, we’re going to do what’s right for the residents. I can’t wait for January.”
   Ms. DiMattia was appointed to a vacant seat on the Township Committee in 2008 and served through the end of that year. She also has been on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and was the volunteer Bordentown Township coordinator for Chris Christie’s campaign for governor.
   Mr. Dauber expressed less certainty of his win.
   ”It’s been a nice experience,” he said. “Of course, it’d be nice to work with the committee and get to the people’s business. If it goes the other way, I’ll still be around making sure people’s business is still taken care of, but I’ll be on the outside.”
   Mr. Cann said he found it unlikely he would ultimately win re-election.
   ”I don’t think there’s enough there to change the results,” he said. “I wish him good luck. The voters spoke and voted their choice so I can only wish them well. I worked hard for the township, or I tried to this year, and got involved in as much as I possibly can, and I certainly appreciate those who supported me and certainly wish them good luck in the future.”
   Mr. Cann was elected to a one-year unexpired term in November 2008 and has been serving as deputy mayor since January.
   Mr. Monson declined to comment on the election results.
   In Fieldsboro, longtime incumbent mayor Edward “Buddy” Tyler kept his post with 147 votes, defeating newcomer Republican challenger Stephanie Berry, who received 65 votes.
   ”I’m very fortunate,” Mayor Tyler said. Asked if he was surprised by the results, he answered, “No,” and said, “I wish her well.”
   A Second Street resident, he has been the borough’s mayor for 27 years and was on the council for a few years before that.
   ”I was really happy with my numbers,” said Ms. Berry of River Court. “I think it shows that the town needed a change, and a lot of people agreed with me. I feel like I would’ve won if I had campaigned a little more. I definitely want to stay in politics and see where it takes me.”
   Each of Florence’s three wards had one Democrat and one Republican competing for its open four-year seat on the Township Council.
   In Ward 1, incumbent Democrat Frank K. Baldorossi defended his seat against Republican challenger Craig H. Wilkie by a vote of 891-737.
   In Ward 2, Republican David B. Woolston beat Democrat Kimberly Smith 699-478.
   In Ward 3, incumbent Republican Jerry Sandusky retained his seat, besting Democrat Laura J. Taylor 720-435.
   In New Hanover, Republicans took both open three-year seats on the Township Committee. Incumbent committeeman Rich Koshak led the pack with 221 votes, and newcomer Patrick Murphy took 200. Sole Democratic challenger Salvatore Schiano Jr. earned 115 votes, and write-in candidate Aurus Malloy got 33.
   In North Hanover, incumbent Republican Township Committee members Michael Moscatiello and Bill Tilton retained the two open seats on the committee with a respective 906 and 886 votes. Democratic challengers Timothy Palmer and Kim South earned 480 and 503 votes.
   North Hanover voters also approved 615-560 a municipal ballot question to continue the township open space tax of 7 cents per $100 of assessed home value for the next five years.
   In Springfield, voters overwhelmingly defeated a referendum to approve an ordinance, which would have restructured the municipal Police Department with a public safety director at its head instead of a chief. Residents voted 968-414 against the ordinance.
   The referendum came after residents launched a petition against the second version of the ordinance in August. The first version also called for a director, but did not specify the other members of the department and was defeated by a similar effort.
   ”I have nothing but the highest praise for the members of the Township Council for standing up for their beliefs,” said Mayor Denis McDaniel, an open supporter of the ordinance. “We will now have a police chief and will make it work as well as circumstances permit.”
   He added, “We have to spend within our means, but whatever it costs us in some other area, we will certainly have a chief. The referendum speaks loudly, and we will deliver what the residents voted for.”
   Township resident Bill Seaman, who led the petition that put the ordinance to a vote, said he was happy with the outcome but disappointed by the need for a vote.
   ”It’s no surprise,” he said. “I’m disappointed we had to go through it because I expected those numbers the entire time just from the people that I talked to.
   ”It’s one of two things: the council never realized what the people really wanted…or worse yet, they knew and still put this ordinance through and left the Police Department leaderless through all this.
   ”We’re supposed to have a representative form of government, and (a chief) is what the people wanted. It’s obvious now.”
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