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The voters of Manchester Township have spoken.

In a special run-off election held today for mayor and two Township Council seats in Manchester, Rob Arace won the mayoral position, defeating incumbent Robert Hudak. With 34 districts reporting out of 40, and vote-by-mail ballots received before Tuesday counted, Arace had 4,476 and Hudak had 4,372 votes, according to unofficial results.

Arace's running mates for Township Council Joseph Hankins had 4,383, and Roxanne Conniff had 4,381 votes, defeating incumbent Councilwoman Joan Brush with 4,331, and Timothy Poss with 4,194 votes, according to unofficial results.

Today's special run-off election was required because neither Hudak nor Arace received more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the Nov. 8 election. Official results from the general election show Hudak received 7,778 votes, 44.21 percent of the 17, 594 votes cast in the mayoral contest. Arace received 5,455, 31 percent, and Ken Seda received 4,348, or 24.71 percent.

The two Township Council seats are part of the run-off for the same reason.

While Hudak and Arace are the faces of the mayoral contest, the outcome of the election is as much about the power struggle within the Ocean County Republican Party as it is about who is leading Manchester.

Hudak, who was elected to the council in 2019, was appointed mayor in 2021 when then-mayor Ken Palmer resigned to accept an appointment as a Superior Court judge in Ocean County.

Hudak then defeated Arace in the 2021 election for the final year of Palmer's term.

Arace has the backing of George Gilmore, who has regained the chairmanship of the Ocean County Republican Club after being forced to step down in 2019. Gilmore was convicted on federal charges of failing to pay over payroll taxes and fraud on a bank loan application; a pardon issued by then-President Donald Trump meant that Gilmore avoided jail time.

Arace and his slate of running mates ran under "The Right Choice for Manchester" slate. He currently serves on the Manchester Township Zoning Board. He is also very involved in several local civic organizations.

Joe Hankins is a life-long resident of Manchester, and has served 25 years as a Manchester Police Officer. His son followed in his footsteps, becoming a Manchester police officer and starting his own family in Manchester.

Roxanne “Roxy” Conniff is also a life-long resident of Manchester, and an experienced leader who has spent her career working on behalf of local communities just like Manchester.

The Right Choice for Manchester slate has stated that preventing over development is their top priority and that they "look forward to preserving the quality of life for all Manchester residents and continuing to make our town a great place to live for both retirees and new families, alike."

"Manchester Township is a hidden gem in Ocean County – a town where young families can grow and seniors can enjoy retirement. It’s quiet, the traffic levels are manageable and we want to keep it that way. But when it comes to amenities, our neighbors spend their money in surrounding towns instead of here in Manchester. As Mayor, I would implement a responsible, business-focused economic plan designed to enhance the quality of life for our residents while filling already-vacant storefronts", wrote Arace.

Arace is also committed to enhancing public services, including resolving the Township's persistent flooding issues, and making the Township transparent to everyone.

"Our team will work to enhance our bulk trash and leaf pickup schedules. These services are not happening frequently enough or they are happening too late in the season. We will address issues like the frequency of these services to ensure that our streets are clear, especially during the fall season to ensure safe roads. Additionally, we will look into the feasibility and cost of providing amenities like trash removal for all our residents while keeping taxes stable. 

"Additionally, we feel that our residents deserve absolute transparency and all Town Council meetings should be filmed, live-streamed and published online to be readily accessible to all," stated Arace.

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1 comment:

Chananyah Goldstein said...

Isn't it astounding that anti-overdevelopment and pro-transparency goes hand in hand??

For some reason overdevelopment can never be accomplished transparently...