JACKSON – The big race in the township was for mayor and that had incumbent Michael Reina defeating challenger Tracie Yostpille for a four-year term. Reina beat Yostpille with 11,536 which represented 65.71 percent of the vote.
Yostpille received 5,980 votes during the Nov. 6 election. The two candidates had sharply different views on the direction of the township which were expressed during their campaigns.
Reina was appointed in December 2008 and elected in a special election a year later. His new term will start on Jan 1. The township has a nonpartisan form of municipal government and while candidates do not run for office under a party banner, party affiliation was still in play during the election season.
Reina, a registered Republican, and strong supporter of the president, accused his political opponents of spreading false information during the campaign regarding the authority a mayor has regarding development in the township. Yostpille, a registered Democrat, differed on the amount of development the township has seen and how it was growing.
The mayor pointed out that recent construction projects involving hotels and a sports facility as prime ratables for the township as a means to lower the tax base that is primarily covered by property owners.
Reina also noted that Jackson had been acknowledged as one of the 10 best places to live, work and play in America on a national television show and that it was also ranked as the 14th safest cities in the country by the National Council for home and Safety and Security.
The township was also ranked 26th in Safewise’s 30 safest cities to raise a child and 29th in Safewise’s 50 Safest Cities in New Jersey.
“I will be very proud to represent the township for another four years,” Reina said.
Reina ran with winning council candidates Andrew Kern and Alexander Sauickie, III under the banner of “Experienced Leadership Moving Jackson Forward.” Kern received 9,483 votes while Sauickie received 9,167.
Yostphille ran under the banner of “Save Jackson” with council candidates Brandon Rose and Paul Sarti all of whom expressed that high-density housing projects recently approved and some under review, would negatively impact the township. Rose received 4,945votes while Sarti received 4,941
Incumbent Scott Martin who previously ran with Reina’s campaign team ran under his own banner this year, “Jackson First.” Martin received 2,149 votes in the election.
In a press release provided to news outlets prior to the election, Martin stated that he was concerned about the national opioid crisis which “continues to test law enforcement, governmental, and medical agencies in preserving our security and quality of life. The Jackson School District is looking at a sharp reduction in state aid likely leading to either cuts or tax hikes (or worse yet–both). Our town needs stricter code enforcement to combat repeat offenders of established codes and standards. These are just a few of the things on the township’s plate.”
Martin added that despite the nonpartisan form of government “the two major party candidate tickets have engaged in pure mudslinging practices via the mail and the Internet. He said his campaign for council had been dedicated to providing residents with “an optimistic vision for Jackson’s future.”
Denise Garner, who ran unsuccessfully for council four years ago ran again under the banner of “The Independent Voice For The People.” She received 1,366 votes. The result tally came from the Ocean County Clerk’s Office website on Nov. 6 after the polls closed. There were 40 write in votes for mayor and 25 write in votes for council.