The Manalapan Democratic Party will gain a voice on the Manalapan Township Committee beginning in January after Democrat David Kane defeated Republican Rebecca Ginsberg to win a three-year term on the governing body.
In the Nov. 3 election, both candidates were making their first run for a seat on the committee. A Democrat has not served on the governing body since 2011.
The term of Republican Committeeman Ryan Green will end on Dec. 31.
Kane will join Republicans Jack McNaboe, Susan Cohen, Maryanne Musich and Jordan Maskowitz on the governing body in 2016.
According to unofficial results provided by the township clerk’s office, Kane received 2,560 votes and Ginsberg received 1,928 votes. The results are unofficial until they are certified by Monmouth County.
Kane appeared to be the beneficiary of a decision by hundreds of voters who cast their ballots for Republicans at the top of the ticket to vote for a Democrat on the local level.
The race for the position of Monmouth County clerk pitted Republican Christine Giordano Hanlon against Democrat Kevin Kane. Hanlon out-polled Kane in Manalapan, 2,310 to 2,005.
The race for one seat on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders pitted Republican John Curley against Democrat Carol Rizzo. Curley out-polled Rizzo in Manalapan, 2,300 to 1,944.
The race for two seats in the state Assembly pitted Republicans Ronald Dancer and Robert Clifton against Democrats David Merwin and Robert Kurzydlowski. In Manalapan, Dancer and Clifton received 2,363 and 2,321 votes, respectively. Merwin and Kurzydlowski received 1,828 and 1,774 votes respectively.
Those totals were reversed in the race for the committee seat as Kane received about 600 votes more than the Democratic clerk, freeholder and Assembly candidates, and Ginsberg received about 400 votes less than the Republican clerk, freeholder and Assembly candidates.
Kane was not the initial candidate the Democrats nominated to run for the seat on the governing body. Another individual won an uncontested Democratic primary election in June and then dropped off the ballot.
Kane stepped up to fill that empty ballot spot and now finds himself as one of five elected officials in a community of about 40,000 residents.
He said he is looking forward to working with the current members of the committee and is pleased to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the township.
“I think the residents of Manalapan feel we need a new perspective on the committee,” Kane said. “I am very grateful that people put their trust in me and I am humbled by the support I received throughout the election process.”
When asked how he might explain why the Republicans carried the three races at the top of the ticket, but not the Township Committee race, Kane said he thinks residents wanted to send a strong signal expressing their opposition to the Manalapan Crossing project.
The Manalapan Crossing commercial-residential project that has been proposed for the corner of Route 33 and Millhurst Road has been a topic of discussion in the community for most of 2015.
“I think it is a nonpartisan issue,” said Kane, who is an attorney. “I think that it is really a town issue so it goes across all political parties. Many people felt they could vote with the candidate in this case, rather than voting with the party.”
Kane said he felt like people needed more balance in the community.
“Many people told me along the way during the election process that they wanted some more balance and a different voice on the committee,” he said.
Ginsberg, who defeated Green in the Republican primary election in June and sought to maintain the GOP’s 5-0 committee majority, said she intends to keep serving the people of Manalapan in the manner in which she has been.
“As recreation chair and the vice chair of the Manalapan Business Association, I will continue to work diligently on those committees,” she said.
Ginsberg said she will continue to do everything in her power to make Manalapan a great place to live.
“This has been my home for 19 years,” she said. “My family has deep roots here and I will continue to do everything I can to make Manalapan an even better place to live.”