Clark and Garwood Election Night Results
Clark incumbents stay put; Republicans sweep in Garwood.
In GARWOOD, A REpublican Sweep
At the Knights of Columbus, where the Garwood Republicans were anxiously waiting, a cheer rose as the unofficial results came in: a full sweep. Patricia Quattrocchi bested two-term incumbent Dennis McCarthy for the mayorship. Republicans Jim Mathieu and Victor DeFillippo also beat Democrats Kathy Villaggio and Matthew Allouf to fill the seats left by exiting councilmen Anthony Sytko (R) and Stephen Napolitano (D).
At the same moment just a few blocks across town at the Westwood, smiles were scarce. Newcomer Allouf broke the post-results silence saying, "We put the information out there for the residents, and it's out of our hands. I'm proud of what we did. We are going to stay involved, and we are going to turn it around somehow. We need to work with them to keep Garwood, Garwood, even if we're obviously not going to agree on everything."
Surprised but graceful in defeat, the Garwood Democrats thanked supporters. Villaggio has previously served as a councilwoman was looking to regain her seat. "We told the public the truth," she said. "Now, I wish them the best."
Following Villaggio, the mayor joked, "So what am I supposed to have some words of wisdom now? It's a tough pill to swallow. We worked real hard. We knocked on every single door in this town. I think we can hold our heads up high that we ran a clean campaign like we said we were going to do."
McCarthy wondered whether the results reflected a national sentiment instead of a local one. "We don't know yet if whether what happened in our borough is indicative of what is happening in the rest of nation," he said, as it was still too early in the night to tell for sure. "Quite honestly I think it is. I've been through one of these before when it's happened at a higher level of government and has trickled down to the lower level. Now someone else is going to have to make some tough decisions, so lets see what they're going to do. But I'll be around. I'm not leaving."
Back at the Knights of Columbus, Quattrocchi, a former councilwoman and frequent freeholder candidate, reflected on the past few months' work. "We ran a clean campaign, an issues-oriented campaign," she said. "We intend to move forward and make Garwood a better place." Her first order of business is to review the current Democratic appointments and transition to the new administration "as pleasantly as possible," she said.
"My wife's been going for this [victory] for a long time, even campaigning from her hospital bed after being diagnosed with cancer," said John Quattrocchi, who also serves as chair of the Garwood Republicans.
Mathieu said he believes the Republican victory echoes the taxpayers' concerns. "They're tired of increasing taxes to pay for fewer services. It's time for a change," he said. "We campaigned very clearly on that and this can't be interpreted other than as a response to those issues."
DeFillippo, who has also served previously served a council term, echoed his running mate. "The issues won out," he said. "That's the bottom line." He added that he wants to "go after the county" to stop the tax increases.
Mathieu said they plan to complete a review of the budget, decrease taxpayer spending on municipal employee health care and pension costs, and take on some of the state's mandatory "tool kit" costs.
Cheryl Niedermaier, a third-generation Garwood resident said that parents and grandparents of many of her friends have been forced to move out of Garwood because they were unable to afford the taxes.
"It was time for a change, and change has come," said Niedermaier, citing the bulk pick-up situation and the borough's taxes as top issues.
Departing councilman Anthony Sytko said that Garwood residents responded to Republican efforts to listen to them and address their concerns. "That's always been one of the strengths of the Republican campaign," said Sytko. "Year after year, regardless of who the candidates are, we get out early. This was a major win. I'm truly proud to be a Republican from New Jersey."
Clark Incumbents KEEP THEIR SEATS
In Clark, the day could have been any other: City council incumbents—Frank Mazzarella (R), Pat O'Connor (R), Richard Kazanowski (D) and Brian Toal (R)—handily won reelection. (O'Connor ran unopposed.)
All but third-ward newcomer Carmen Brocato won for the Clark Republicans, who had gathered in the mayor's office to wait for the returns. "The council returned exactly the way it was this morning," said Mayor Sal Bonaccorso. "I think it's a vote for good government. I think the people of town are happy with all their representatives."
Councilman Frank Mazzarella expressed his thanks to constituents for the vote of confidence saying, "I think they saw what we have accomplished over my tenure, my eight years, and they want to keep that focus going."
Councilman Brian Toal won his race against newcomer Phil Laskowski by a wide margin. "A landslide victory is for the people," he said. "It's their election, and I am their voice and their feelings. They are my boss, and I am just here to do their bidding. They like what I am doing according to the numbers, but we have much more to do. We have got to continue building a better Clark."
At Bistro 1051, where the Democrats had gathered, incumbent Rich Kazanowski was the only winner. "It was a good campaign," said Kazanowski. "I knocked on a lot of doors and listened to the residents' concerns and what they felt we could do to improve Clark. I want to thank my supporters, and let all the third ward residents know that I am there for them. If they have any questions or concerns, please contact me."
The first-ward race was the most competitive, with the vote split 45 percent to 55 percent in Mazzarella's favor."The people have spoken," said candidate Gary Slodowksi, who also ran in the 2008 mayoral race against Bonaccorso. "I'm happy with the campaign we ran, but disappointed with the results. I wish Frank good luck."
Laskowski also took the loss in stride. "I had a great time meeting the people of Clark," he said. "It was my first time out and Brian was a tough opponent. I wish him well in serving the residents."
|FIRST WARD||VOTE TOTAL|