TOMS RIVER – The campaign is over! Let the campaign begin!
An unusually nasty primary campaign season ended with the winners being a list of candidates that were not backed by the official Republican club: Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill and his slate of council choices.
The Republican Club had endorsed former Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato and his team for the primary. He was being challenged by Hill and Councilman Daniel Rodrick. Current Mayor Thomas Kelaher is not running for re-election.
Hill received 3,057 votes and the right to represent the Republicans in November. Coronato won 2,546 votes. Rodrick won 1,836 votes.
“The real winner was Toms River,” Hill said. “I want the Republican party to come together and mend fences.”
Coronato issued a statement after the votes were tallied: “I congratulate Mo Hill and his team on a strong race. Now it’s time to set aside our differences, come together as a party, and ensure that Republican leadership continues to guide Toms River into the future.”
“I wish Mo well. We all want what’s best for Toms River,” Rodrick said.
Hill was not available to speak immediately after the election.
The three camps fought publicly during the weeks leading up to the election, sparring in public meetings, mailers, and a live debate.
Now that the Republicans’ fight is over, there will be a campaign leading to the general election in November.
There are three council seats up in November. Each mayoral candidate had a team, and there was one resident running solo.
Hill’s council slate all won the primary election, and a place on the ballot in November. The votes for council members, listed in the order they were on the Ocean County Clerk’s website, is as follows:
- Christian Momm (ran with Coronato): 2,425
- Ginny Rhine (ran with Coronato): 2,422
- John Meehan (ran with Coronato): 2,349
- Heather Barone (ran solo): 945
- Ken Londregin (ran with Rodrick): 1,582
- George Lobman (ran with Rodrick): 1,604
- Justin Lamb (ran with Rodrick): 1,647
- Matt Lotano (ran with Hill): 2,661
- Josh Kopp (ran with Hill): 2,720
- Kevin Geoghegan (ran with Hill): 2,638
There were five write-in votes for mayor and 12 write-in votes for council. These results have not yet been verified by the county.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Petro ran unopposed to represent the Democrats in November. He won 1,489 votes in the primary. There were 33 write-ins.
The council slate for the Democrats include Board of Education member and former principal Michele Williams (1,393 votes), attorney Karin K. Sage (1,351 votes), and teacher Drew Boyle (1,388 votes). There were 52 write-ins.
Petro issued a statement which made it clear that there’s not going to be too much of a rest until the race for November. It read, in part: “Tonight, I was happy to have the opportunity to personally congratulate Councilman Hill on his success in his primary. I know we will disagree often in the campaign season ahead, as we turn away from failed policies and failures of leadership that have changed the town that I love.”