COURT HOUSE – County Democrats are humming “Happy days are here again,” after an impressive Election Day display.
With 34,528 votes cast, just over 52 percent of those registered went to the polls. That included 2,100 civilian and 14 military absentee ballots.
According to unofficial tallies from the County Clerk’s Office, Democrat Nelson Albano won the Assembly seat held by Republican Jack Gibson, and the Dems shaved Republican freeholders’ victory margin relatively thin.
The Democrats’ dual-Assembly seat victory, coupled with the gubernatorial win of Democ-rat Jon Corzine, and subsequent selection of Assemblyman Joseph Roberts of Camden County as Assembly Speaker, should bolster the First District’s clout in Trenton.
In the gubernatorial race, Republican Doug Forrester received 16,108 votes to Corzine’s 14,308.
In county, Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew received 22,453 votes, while Albano got 15,962.
Gibson’s home county gave him15,855 votes.
Officially shunned Republican Assembly candidate George Cecola got 9,714 votes. He won a place on the ballot after GOP favorite Andrew McCrosson forgot to file on time.
Freeholder Director Daniel Beyel received 16,531 votes and Vice Director Ralph Sheets got 16,293 votes, enough to return both to the board.
However, Democrat Stephen Barry, with 14,306, and running mate Robert Jackson, with 13,913, came very close in a county where Republican workers dominate county govern-ment.
The county employes’ union had thrown its support behind Barry and Jackson over dis-pleasure with contract negotiations.
In elective constitutional officers’ races, Republican Sheriff John Callinan won reelection with 18,089 votes while Democrat Robert Hartman received 12,202.
Republican Acting County Clerk Rita Marie Fulginiti outpolled Democrat challenger Annie Farrow, 18,829 to 12,208.
In municipal races:
Dennis Township: Democrats retain control of Township Committee after Democrats Dennis Crippen, with 1,321, and Brian O’Connor, with 1,327, outpolled Republicans Hans Toft, 897, and Larry Lapidus, 770.
They outdistanced Independents Kathleen Bresan, 188, and running mate James Waltz, 160.
Middle Township: Unopposed Democrat Mayor F. Nathan Doughty Jr., garnered 3,514 votes, and returned for a third term to the all-Democrat governing body.
North Wildwood: Republican William Henfey, unchallenged, for mayor, received 1,496 votes.
Council member at large: Republican Robert Maschio received 1,214 votes to Democrat challenger Brian McDowell’s 615.
Ward 1: Republican Robert McCullion outpolled Democrat Michael McLaughlin, 766 to 269.
Ward 2: Unopposed Republican Edwin Koehler received 662 votes.
Stone Harbor: Independent Republicans Anne Wannen and running mate Julian Miraglia received 316 and 360 votes, respectively, and won three-year seats on borough council.
Regular Republicans William Stump and Timothy Noble received 264 and 271 votes, re-spectively. Democrat Eleanor Shiel Zito got 47 votes.
Upper Township: Republican Frank Conrad, unopposed, will join township committee with 2,839 votes.
Woodbine: Independent incumbent Anthony Saduk Sr. with 381 votes, and Independent Gerald Sanford with 379 votes, will take seats on borough council. Republican David Lon-don received 336 votes.
Ocean City: Voters defeated a bond question, 1,036 to 3,222, to purchase a historic life-saving station.
Voters here approved the question to create the office of lieutenant governor, 14,342 to 11,490. The question was also approved statewide.
Similarly, local voters said yes, 13,753 to 11,495, to the question allowing funds to be used to fight higher diesel emissions.
Contact Campbell at: al.c@cmcherald
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