By PETE WALTON
Democrat Rachel McGreevy has defeated incumbent Republican Mayor Andrew C. Wardell by 17 votes in the race for Neptune City mayor, according to official returns released by Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon.
This is an historic victory for McGreevy who will become the first woman and the first Democrat ever elected as mayor in Neptune City.
“With vote counting and processing having had the appropriate time to conclude, we are thrilled to have steadily gained votes since our eight-vote lead on election night,” Neptune City Democrats said in a social media post. “We are excited to recognize the final result of the vote by the people of NeptuneCity as well as the hard work of both campaigns.”
“I do not intend to ask for a recount,” Wardell said. “I do not believe it will change the results. I believe the mayor-elect deserves this time to start planning for her new role and I do not want to hold that up with a recount.”
“Although I’m very disappointed with the results, I want to wish Mayor-elect McGreevy the best of luck and I am hopeful for the best for Neptune City residents,” Wardell said.
McGreevy will be sworn in on Jan. 1 along with council members Glen R. Kocsis and Pamela Renee, who were re-elected.
“We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to our supporters and all voters in this election for makingthis historic victory possible,” the Democrats said in their statement. “Whether you cast a ballot for us or not, thank you for engaging in yourcivic duty. We sincerely value all voices in the community and look forward to working together.”
The county clerk said McGreevy received 747 votes while Wardell garnered 730. Renee led the four candidates for two council seats with 806 votes, while Kocsis garnered 787. Republican challengers Michael T. Kepler and Craig W. Morcom received 662 and 661 votes, respectively.
According to the county clerk, 150 people cast their ballots at early voting locations prior to Election Day. A total of 252 mail-in ballots were counted while 436 mail-in ballots were sent out.
Republicans will continue to control the governing body by a 4-2 margin. Under Neptune City’s form of government, the mayor only votes in the event of a tie.
McGreevy, a native of Eveleth, Minnesota, moved with her husband to Neptune City in 2017 to be near family. The small business owner previously worked as vice president of state government affairs and community relations at MasterCard.
Wardell was seeking a second four-year term as mayor. He defeated Renee 840-650 in the 2019 mayoral election. A teacher and coach at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls, Wardell was elected to the council in 2015.
The county clerk also released official vote totals in the race for seats on the Neptune City Board of Education.
Sharon Dellett, president of the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School Boosters, was the leading vote getter in the race for three full-term seats on the board, receiving 721 votes.
Anthony Susino, the current board president, and another incumbent, Bruce Wescott, were reelected with 571 and 553 votes, respectively.
Former Borough Council member John Pietrunti finished fourth with 475.
Former council member and current board member David Calhoun was unopposed in his bid for a one-year unexpired term.