For the most part it was a big night for Republican candidates in Ocean County with the GOP sweeping races for state assembly, freeholder and sheriff by huge margins in an off-year election that saw only 29% of registered county voters cast ballots.

However there was major drama in the Toms River race for mayor where you needed the results of all 63 districts before a winner could be declared and it was Republican Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill edging Democrat Jonathan Petro by a mere 265 votes.  Hill received 11,135 votes to 10,870 for Petro in what was the most hotly contested race in Ocean County.

Hill’s three running mates for seats on the Township Council also prevailed with more comfortable margins so the GOP will remain in power with a 5-2 majority.

With the exception of Brick Township it was a night of celebration for Republicans in the county as Brick remains the one town to buck that trend as all four council seats up for election there went to Democrats.

Voters in Berkeley Township and Beachwood re-elected their incumbent mayors and running mates for council by better than 3-to-1 margins with Carmen Amato winning another term as Berkeley’s mayor and Ron Roma doing the same in nearby Beachwood.

There were two public questions on the ballot with both passing in convincing fashion.  The first was a state-wide question which will allow veterans who live in continuing care retirement communities to receive the value of a $250 property tax deduction which is currently granted to those vets living in a private residence.

The second was a county question that will expand the purpose of the Natural Lands Trust Fund to include the acquisition, development and maintenance for recreational and historic preservation purposes.  Public questions rarely get rejected.

Of course next November things will be a bit different and it certainly will not be a quiet election year.

Photo courtesy Heidi Lotter and Jersey Shore Online.