TOMS RIVER – Taxes, development, and way of life are the biggest issues in this town, and residents told politicians how they felt about that by electing Maurice “Mo” Hill as mayor for the next four years.
Hill had 12 years as a member of the Township Council. Even when he sought the mayoral spot, he had to fight two other Republicans in the primary. Then, he and Democrat Jonathan Petro fought a very bitter race this year which came down to the wire.
In a very Republican county, this was one race that was too close to call even as the results started coming in. Hill narrowly won 11,135 votes to Petro’s 10,870. There were 58 write-ins.
The political stakes were high for this election. In fact, it was one of the few in the overly Republican country worth watching. Currently, there are two Democrats on the seven-member Township Council with a Republican mayor.
The Township Council will remain in Republican control.
Hill ran with Republicans Matt Lotano, a principal in the commercial Lotano Development Corporation; Josh Kopp, a veteran and director of Kopp Electric Company; and former Councilman Kevin Geoghegan, a retired Toms River Police Officer and member of EMS and fire departments.
Interestingly, the Republicans had more of a margin of victory on the council. All three council candidates received more votes than the mayoral candidate. Lotano received 12,112 votes; Kopp received 11,609 votes; and Geoghegan received 11,612 votes.
Petro is a managing partner in the law office of Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks in Toms River.
Petro ran with Democrats Michele Williams, a Toms River school board member and former principal at St. Joseph Grade School (9,187 votes); Karin K. Sage, an attorney and shareholder on the Business and Commercial Litigation team at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. in Woodbridge (9,039 votes); and Drew Boyle, a math teacher in Brick (9,040 votes).
There were 39 write-in votes. These figures have not been certified by the county.