With 97 percent of paper ballots processed, incumbent Democrat Pamela Renee is in first place, 22 votes ahead of Republican challenger Rob Burr.
By PETE WALTON
Only 64 votes separate the candidates for two full-term seats on the Neptune City Borough Council at press time.
There are only four votes between the two candidates to fill a one-year unexpired term.
With 97 percent of paper ballots processed, incumbent Democrat Pamela Renee is in first place, 22 votes ahead of Republican challenger Rob Burr. Burr leads incumbent Democrat Glen Kocsis by two votes for the second available seat.
According to the partial returns posted by Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon, Renee has 1271, Burr 1249, Kocsis 1247 and GOP challenger Michaela O’Brien 1207.
In the race for the one-year seat, incumbent Republican Brian Sullivan has 1246 votes while Democrat aspirant John Pietrunti has 1242, according to the unofficial returns.
The 97 percent figure includes ballots which were deposited in secure drop boxes, and ones which were brought to polling places on Election Day. Residents with disabilities had access to voting machines in person and nearly half of those votes have been counted.
The counting of provisional ballots will take place once all other ballots are tallied to help ensure that no one is voting twice.
Currently, there are three Republicans and three Democrats on the council. Republican Mayor Andrew Wardell only casts a vote in the event of a tie.
The GOP needs to win at least one of the seats up for election this year in order to keep control of borough government.
Wardell’s term runs through 2023. The term of Democrat David Calhoun ends on Dec. 31, 2021, as does the term of the winner of this year’s race for the unexpired seat.
Renee was first elected to the council in 2014. Kocsis was elected in 2017. Sullivan was appointed in January to fill the vacancy created when Wardell was elected mayor in November of last year.
Even though this year’s votes are still being counted, approximately 1,000 more votes have been cast in the 2020 election compared to 2019. Vote totals are traditionally higher in a presidential election year. The population of Neptune City is 4,596, according to the most recent estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Check thecoaster.net online for updated election results as votes continue to be counted.