The balance of power on the Cranford Township Committee has once again shifted back to the Democratic party as Thomas Hannen Jr. defeated Republican Scott Mease to secure a seat on the governing body.
Hannen, who ran unsuccessfully alongside former Mayor Daniel Aschenbach last year, pulled off a victory in the Nov. 6 general election, defeated his GOP opponent by approximately 676 votes, according to the unofficial results provided by Township Clerk Tara Rowley.
"This was a team effort put together by a lot of great people. I look forward to getting to work as soon as possible," Hannen said when the results were announced. "There are a lot of people looking to keep Cranford moving forward so I would like to be a catalyst for that."
Currently, the governing body is made up of three Republicans — Mayor David Robinson, whose term expires this year, but who chose not to seek re-election — and GOP Commissioners Andis Kalnins and Lisa Adubato, as well as two Democrats — Edward O'Malley and Kevin Campbell. When Hannen takes office in January, the Democrats will control three of the five seats on the dias.
Hannen has been involved in the Flood Advisory Committee as well as several other township organizations. He has been involved in politics for several years. He spent 12 years as a councilman in Winfield, four of them as the mayor.
Hannen said the township needs to further explore the possibilities of shared services with other towns to offset some costs and streamline the workings of the township. He will also continue to join the opposition against development in the Birchwood Avenue flood zone.
Cranford residents also favored a Democrat in the NJ Sentae race, casting the majority of their votes for Sen. Robert Menendez over Republican Joe Kyrillos. In the presidential race, Cranford voters narrowly approved President Barack Obama. In the race for the 7th Congressional District, residents showed support for Incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance.
In the race for the three open seats on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, however, Cranford voters favored the Republicans, casting the majority of their votes for Diane Barabas of Westfield; Stephen Kozlovich of Union; Krzysztof Chris T. Nowak of Cranford.
In addition to the general election, township voters were also asked to cast voted for members of the Board of Education. The race for the school board was uncontested with three, three-year seats and one, one-year seat open on the
board. The four incumbents on the ballot included Catherine Morgese, Mary Venditti and Camille Widdows for the three-year term and one incumbent, Jill Brown, running for the one-year term. No other candidates filed petitions with the County Clerk for the election.
The following list represents the votes cast by Cranford resients in the general election, which saw a 69.7 percent voter turnout:
Thomas Hannen Jr. — 5,327
Scott Mease — 4,648
BOARD OF EDUCATION (Uncontested)
Mary Venditti — 4,977
Camille Widdows — 4,121
Catherine Morgese — 3,816
Jill Brown — 4,520
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS
Alexander Mirabella — 4,409
Mohamed S. Jalloh — 3,938
Bruce H. Bergen — 4,301
Diane Barabas — 5,200
Stephen Kozlovich — 5,249
Krzysztof Chris T. Nowa — 5,004
Joe Kyrillos — 4,762
Robert Menendez — 5,044
7th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Upendra Chivukula — 4,208
Leonard Lance — 5,438
Pres. Barack Obama — 5,567
Mitt Romney — 5,280