Reina wins election to 4-year term as mayor

Scott Martin, Ann Updegrave are re-elected to seats on Jackson Township Council


Jackson residents elected Mike Reina to a four-year term as Jackson’s mayor in the May 11 municipal election.

Mike Reina Mike Reina Reina’s running mates, Scott Martin and Ann Updegrave, both won election to their second four-year terms on the Township Council.

Reina won a three-way race for mayor in Jackson’s nonpartisan municipal election.

According to election results presented during the May 12 meeting of the council, Reina received 3,489 votes, Mike Kafton received 2,666 votes and Ken Bressi received 1,552 votes.

Kafton and Bressi will keep their seats on the council.

The new terms of Reina, Martin and Updegrave will begin when the municipal government reorganizes in July.

Commenting on the results of the election, Reina said, “I don’t think that any person can be complimented more than by being asked to run the town for four years and to be the mayor for four years. It is a humbling experience, a shock. I ran against what I believe are two well-respected opponents.”

Reina, 51, has been a resident of Jackson for 23 years. He has served as Jackson’s mayor for the past 18 months and won a special election in November to complete the term from January through June 2010. He is employed at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, serving in nuclear security.

Reina said the residents of Jackson identified what he was doing and what he believes is good government and a way to the future He said the support of his family made it possible.

The mayor said he met with Gov. Chris Christie at the governor’s mansion in Princeton on May 13.

“I think Chris knows that now I will be here for four years and I mean business,” said Reina. “The people of Jackson need to be represented on the state level, as well as the county level.”

Kafton said although he was deeply disappointed in the results, he thanked everyone who supported him and his running mates Sean Giblin and Marvin Krakower.

“We ran a great campaign, emphasizing our accomplishments and our positive vision for Jackson’s future,” said Kafton.

Bressi thanked everyone who supported him in the election.

“I really appreciated that,” said Bressi. “It was a good feeling. Now that the election is over, it is time to move forward in the best interests of the town.”

Bressi said he has no problem working with Reina and his fellow council members and hopes they all can move forward.

“I look forward to working with the mayor and the council,” he said. “Through a campaign, a lot of suggestions, concerns or issues come up, and maybe some of them can be addressed now. It is time to move forward and put the campaign behind us.”

Martin and Updegrave, who ran with Reina as part of the Leadership, Experience, Results team, recaptured their seats on the council dais. Martin received 3,137 votes and Updegrave received 3,087 votes.

Martin said May 11, Election Day, was a very exciting evening and said he was humbled by the outpouring of support by the people of Jackson.

“I am honored that they are giving me a second term as their council member,” he said. “I will do my best to live up to their expectations for the next four years.”

Martin said he has always taken a nonpartisan approach to government and that he has always tried to do what is best for residents. He said it was heartwarming to see the response on Election Day and that he is excited to serve another term.

Updegrave said she was overwhelmed and thanked residents and volunteers who got out and stayed focused on what was stated in her campaign literature.

“We wanted to stay focused on our agenda of conservatism,” she said.

Updegrave said the voters obviously saw a change, and they saw that the current administration is on the right track and looking out for the interests of all the residents of Jackson and not just a few people.

“We want to keep plugging along, while saving money wherever we can,” the councilwoman said.

Giblin received 2,705 votes and Krakower received 2,552 votes in their bids for council with Kafton on the Strong Leadership, Lower Taxes, Real Results team.

Running with Bressi on the Firm, Fair and Honest team were council candidates Kimberly Lum, who received 1,577 votes, and Peter Grzelak, who received 1,407 votes.

Council candidate Kevin DiGesu received 584 votes running as Your New Choice for Jackson.

In an analysis of the voting by election district, it was found that in districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9,10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 29, Reina led the way with more votes than either of the other two mayoral candidates.

In districts 5, 7, 11, 14, 22, 28, and in mail-in ballots (261), Kafton led the way with more votes than either of the other two candidates.

In District 8, Bressi led the way with more votes than either of the other two candidates.

In every district except districts 9, 15 and 27, council candidates followed their mayoral running mate with the most votes in that district, which appears to indicate that most of the people who went to the polls voted for an entire team and did not split their vote.

The next scheduled municipal election in Jackson will be in May 2012 when three seats on the council will be on the ballot.

In 2006, Jackson switched from a Township Committee form of government in which candidates for municipal office were selected by the members of a political party, to a nonpartisan mayor and Township Council form of government with a process that does not require a primary election or a candidate’s selection by the members of a political party to secure a spot on the ballot to run for public office.