By Patricia A. Miller
A done deal.
Barring an unlikely massive write-in vote, the Republican Township Council candidates have already won their races for the four ward seats available.
The four ward seats on the Township Council this November
will remain in GOP hands, with the GOP retaining total control over the governing body.
Berkeley was once a Democratic bastion in Ocean County for more than two decades. But no Democrats filed to run this year, leaving the ward seats to whoever the GOP tapped to run.
Township Council President James J. Byrnes, Dogwood Drive, is running for his first
full term as the Ward 1 council representative.
Byrnes - the former
longtime president of the Berkeley Board of Education - was first
appointed in January of 2012 to replace council member Karen Davis, who
resigned because of health reasons. He won a one-year term in November
Newcomer Angelo Guadagno is running for the Ward 2 seat. He will replace current Ward 2 Councilman Kevin Askew, who declined to run for a second term.
Council Vice-President Judy Noonan filed to run for another term for the Ward 3 seat.
Current Berkeley Board of Education member Sophia Gingrich is running for the Ward 4 seat. Current Ward 4 Councilwoman Fran Siddons did not go down without a fight after the local Republican Club's screening committee snubbed her in her quest for a second term.Siddons had planned to run for another term and had begun raising money for her campaign. But she said then she was "viciously" attacked when she was interviewed by the Republican Club screening committee on March 2.
Siddons has said she already knew she would not receive the club's screening committee's endorsement, because of her independent stance on key issues, including township finances and shared services.
The club's endorsement for the Ward 4 seat later went to Gingrich. But Siddons made a decent showing in the June primary, even though she lost to Gingrich.
Democratic Club member Dawn M. Parks has said that the club was planning
on running her for the Ward 1 seat and Keith Fisher for Ward 2. But they
made a "last minute" decision not to run after talking to some
"They started the process, so we felt it was only right for them to have a chance to fix the problems that have resolved around waterfront homeowners and the victims of Sandy," Parks said earlier this year. "I just hope that they can get the job done."
The Democratic Club has already begun considering candidates for next year, Parks said.
It's also no secret in town that the local Republican Club and Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. have lobbied for certain Central Regional and Berkeley Board of Ed candidates this fall, even though school board elections are supposed to be non-partisan.