Sussex County Heads to the Polls – Christie Wins, Legislative District 24 Incumbents Win, Minimum Wage Increase Wins, LOSAP Wins, Plus Varying Outcomes at Local Levels (Results Included)
SUSSEX COUNTY – The races are over, the ballots are in, and though the elections will not be fully official until certified by the county clerk, here are some results of the state elections, the referendum questions, and some local elections which were ones to watch.
Governor Chris Christie, first off, was re-elected Governor for New Jersey, taking the race, per The New York Times, 60.2 percent to 38.3 percent. Many news outlets, including CNN, were naming Christie the winner, only moments after the polls closed in New Jersey at 8 p.m.
In Sussex County, Christie’s margin was even higher – he and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno took 29,833 (28,231 Election Day) or 70.96 percent of the votes, to Barbara Buono and Milly Silva’s 10,682 (10,130 Election Day) or 25.41 percent.
The incumbents ruled the races for the Senate and Assembly here as well. Senator Steve Oroho (R-24) kept his seat at 28,017 (26,563 at the polls) for 70.45 percent versus Dr. Rich Tomko’s at 11,639 (11,007 during the election) or 29.27 percent of the vote.
In the Assembly, Alison Littell McHose ruled the race, with 35.82 percent of the vote, with 26,906 total votes (25,475 on Election Day) and her running mate, Assemblyman Parker Space, with 25,591 (25,249 on Election Day) or 34.07 percent of the vote. Susan Williams and Bill Weightman, the Democratic Contenders, held 12,112 (11,422 on Election Day) or 16.12 percent and 10,342 (9,725 on Election Day) or 13.77 percent.
Sheriff Mike Strada led the race for Sheriff, with no Democratic contenders. He had 97.58 percent of the vote with 34,078 (32,362 on Election Day). There were 844 total “write-in” candidates, with 782 of those recorded on Election Day.
For Sussex County Surrogate, Gary Chiusano held 76.69 percent of the vote, with 28,912 votes (27,440 of those Election Day votes), with his contender, Bob Morris, taking 8,520 or 22.60 percent of the vote (the Election Day count was 8,113).
Freeholders Richard Vohden and George Graham had no Democratic contenders, and took 31,496 and 30,042 of the votes respectfully, with Vohden’s 50.43 percent to Graham’s 48.10. In terms of Election Day votes, it equated to 29,885 and 28,490. Write-Ins for the freeholder seats were 921 or 1.47 percent, with 846 of those cast on Election Day.
In terms of the Referendum question, number 2, which has been a controversial one, and not a favorite of the Republicans, won in New Jersey overall, with voters around the state approving it, according to an article in NJ.com.
Minimum wage will rise from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour in New Jersey, which will be added to the New Jersey State Constitution, and tied to the CPI (Consumer Price Index).
The first question, allowing veterans to use proceeds from games of chance (such as bingo and raffles) to support their organizations, was also approved.
In Sussex County the numbers followed the same trend.
Minimum Wage (Public Question 2)
Vote Election Day Vote Percentage Total Votes
Yes 21,339 54.60 22,738
No 7,128 18.13 7,515
Veterans (Public Question 1)
Vote Election Day Vote Percentage Total Votes
Yes 32,146 81.87 33,934
No 18,120 45.40 18,903
The Town of Newton had a referendum vote as well, for the LOSAP (Length of Service Award Program) program, to permit the Town of Newton to reward members of the Newton Volunteer First Aid Squad with an annual income, which can be a maximum of $1,150 a year. Over 67.20 percent of the residents affirmed this program. The vote breakdown was as follows:
Vote Election Day Vote Percentage Total Votes
Yes 1,087 67.60 1,181
No 537 32.40 566
There were several local races of interest that many readers were following.
Andover Township was one, with Tom Walsh, taking his seat on the committee once again, with a total of 1,201 votes, or 74.74 percent of the vote, versus David Kolstad, with 395 votes or 24.58.
In Byram, Mayor Jim Oscovitch was elected again, with 1,413 of the votes, or 52.26 percent. Councilman Carlos Luaces trailed behind, with 733 or 27.11 percent of the vote, with Skip Danielson in third with 545 or 20.16 percent of the vote.
Marie Raffay won her seat again as councilwoman, earning 1,376 or 51.65 percent of the vote. Giovanni F. DiMeo ended up with 778 or 29.20 percent, and John M. Gallagher, 502 or 18.84 percent.
In Franklin Borough, the two Republicans took the seats, with Nicholas Giordano with 821 or 39.40 percent of the votes, and David M. Fanale with 554 or 26.58. Democratic Candidate Patricia M. Rowett had 433 votes or 20.78 percent. Write-in candidate(s) comprised 13.24 percent of the vote, with 276.
In Hamburg Borough, the Republicans also overtook the Democrats, with John Burd and Chris Kelly taking 29.86 and 28.36 percent of the votes (or 456 and 433) versus Thomas Watts and William Cunningham at 16.96 and 22.66 percent or 259 and 346 votes.
In Hopatcong Borough, the Republicans additionally swept the race, with Michael Francis and Richard Hoer, with 32.86 and 33.15 percent of the votes (or 2,357 and 2,378), versus Mara Modes, a Democrat, with 17.75 percent of the vote or 1,273, and an independent candidate, John Pezzino, with 1,102 or 15.36 percent.
The Republican vote reigned in Sussex Borough as well, with Bruce LaBar, and Georgeanna Stoll voted in with 203 and 220 votes (or 28.75 and 31.16 percent), beating out Democratic candidate Albert Decker (105 votes or 14.87) and Robert Holowach, an independent candidate, with 23.65 percent or 167 votes.
For the Vernon Township Council seats, the threesome of Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Eddie Dunn, were split, with Rizzuto taking the most votes in town, with 2,681 or 16.05 percent, followed by Wetzel, with 2,669 or 15.97 percent. Newcomer Jean Murphy, however, upstaged their third team member, Eddie Dunn, , who took the race ahead of him, with 2,621, versus his 2,542 (or 15.69 and 15.21 percent). Bonnie Rubin, Sally Rinker, and Bradley Sparta trailed behind with 2,153 (12.89 percent), 2,080 (12.45 percent) and 1,855 (11.10 percent) votes each.
In terms of Board of Education Races, there were some in which several candidates took the win, others walked away. In Frankford Township, H. Ralph Smith topped the race, with 1,105 or 23.45 percent of the votes, followed by Steven M. Worthington with 945 or 20.03 percent, and Brian Finnegan with 922 or 19.55 percent of the votes. Michelle Bloch ended with 868 or 18.40 percent and Colleen Chiariello with 855 or 18.13 percent.
Hopatcong Borough had an even larger stable of Board of Education candidates, with three walking away at the end of the race. The top finishers were: Anthony Fasano with 2,212 or 22.91 percent, Michele Perrotti with 1,738 or 18.00 percent, and Frank J. Farruggio, Jr. with 1,360 or 14.08 percent. The three that placed last were: Joan Reilly with 1,333 or 13.80 percent, Amber Charlebois with 1,209 or 12.52 percent, and John H. Maine with 1,104 or 11.43 percent.
The top three in Montague, which had seven candidates for three seats for the Board of Education, were: Diane Cole with 448 or 17.46 percent of the vote, Debra L. Osborne with 439 or 17.11 percent and Sally Rogers Kurtzman with 434 or 16.91 percent of the vote. Other candidates were: Christine Bisl (354 or 13.80 percent), Barbara Holstein 330 or 12.86, James Marion III with 292 or 11.38 percent, and Steven Taylor with 254 or 9.90 percent.
Three newcomers took the Sparta race for the Board of Education. Kelly Anne McEvoy ended up with 2,922 votes or 20.72 percent. Though she was bracketed with James Todd Muth, Brenda Beebe, another contender still came ahead of Muth, with 2,623 or 18.60 percent of the votes. Muth, however, remained in the game, and will be in the third seat, after taking 2,488 votes or 17.64 percent. Incumbent Douglas McKernan was unseated, following behind Muth with 2,423 votes or 17.18 percent.
Last year in the Sparta race, three Board of Education members were unseated: then-President Keith Smith, then Vice-President Dorothy LaBeau, and another member, Ilse Wolfe. Smith and LaBeau attempted to get back into the running this time, and were, again defeated, with Smith taking 1,904 votes or 13.50 percent, and LaBeau trailing behind Smith, with 1,689 votes or 11.97 percent.
In Stillwater, there were four candidates vying for three seats on their Board of Education. The three who won included: Patricia L Hendershot, with 712 or 27.37 percent, followed by Christina Santore with 678 or 26.07 percent of the vote, and Darlene Kepnes with 636 or 24.45 percent of the vote. Cheryl L. Williver came in fourth in the rankings, with 555 or 21.34 percent of the vote.
In Sussex-Wantage, two out of the three candidates made the cut for the Board of Education. They were: Janice Phillips-Mezier, with 232 or 37.42 percent of the vote, with Walter Krynicky, with 196 or 31.61 percent of the vote. Nanette Fandino-Diaz, walked away from the race with 186 or 30.0 percent of the vote.
In Vernon Township, there were six competing for the Board of Education slots. Lori LePera took the first, with 3,140 votes or 21.31 percent. John F. McGowan came in second, with 2,841 or 19.28 percent of the votes. In third, was David Zweier with 2,784 or 18.89 percent. The three who did not make the cut included: Maryann Locher with 2,469 or 16.75 percent, Robert A. Oliver with 2,077 or 14.09 percent, and Thomas Friesema, with 1,342 or 9.11 percent of the vote.
In Sussex County, with approximately 144,000 residents, 101,136 are registered to vote. In this election, there were 42,330 ballots cast in all, which equates to 41.85 percent of the registered voters.
Editor’s Note: Click here for the complete Sussex County election results. The results are considered “official” after they have been fully certified by the Sussex County Clerk. Currently, the numbers furnished in this report, and the results in the link, are considered “unofficial.”
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