Byrne Wins Toms River Council Primary

William R. Byrne

TOMS RIVER – Newcomer William Byrne won the right to compete for a council seat after beating his opponent in the primary election.

A primary election determines whose name will be on the ballot in November. Democrats choose their person and Republicans choose theirs.

On the Democrat side, Susan Payne Gato ran unopposed and will be on the ballot in November.
On the Republican side, this was a match between William R. Byrne and former councilman Kevin Geoghegan.

Byrne won the primary 1,409 to 923.

In an election preview published by The Toms River Times, Byrne said his message has been on keeping taxes down and fighting overdevelopment.

“I believe my position on taxes and development is more in line with the voters of Toms River than that of the previous mayor and council. Residents were tired of their pro-development policies and big giveaways to developers. Particularly when they gave away a $3.5M waterfront property to a developer for just one dollar to build two apartment towers downtown. They also exempted the developer from school taxes for 30 years. I would never vote for a policy like that,” he said.

Byrne spent his career in the trucking industry. “First, as a Teamster Truck Driver for Gulf Oil, where I worked my way up to the Lead Drive Instructor for the entire northeast.”

He has served as the past president of Holiday City Silverton, where he continues to serve on the board as a Trustee.

There are two factions of Republicans in the governing body. Byrne represents the majority side, which is the same side as the mayor.

He had the support of the Official Toms River Regular Republican Club and the Ocean County Regular Republican Organization. He shared the party line with former President Donald Trump.

Kevin Geoghegan, a retired township police officer, had served six nonconsecutive years on the Township Council. He is a life member and former chief of the Silverton Volunteer Fire Company. He is the business administrator of the Silverton EMS and a MICU Paramedic for RWJBarnabas Health.

In the same article for The Toms River Times, he said “The current council majority has very little experience and knowledge of Toms River municipal government. I hope to work cooperatively with the other council members, sharing the benefit of my knowledge and experience, as we return the council to its proper role of a legislative body and the check and balance for the administration.”

So, in November, the ballot will be Republican William Byrne versus Democrat Susan Payne Gato. Whoever wins in November will only serve for one year, and if they choose, will have to run again for re-election in 2025. This is considered an unexpired term. Daniel Rodrick was the councilman for this ward, but when he won the race for mayor last year, his spot on the council opened up.

Toms River is split geographically into four wards, and each ward has one representative on the Township Council.

This primary election is just for the 2nd ward.

These are unofficial results because it takes a few weeks for the Ocean County Board of Elections to certify the numbers.