POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Incumbent council members Caryn Byrnes and Tom Migut were being congratulated during Tuesday’s borough council meeting as both remained in the lead for re-election. But final confirmation of their victory and the results of other Ocean County races remained pending, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella, the Ocean County Board of Elections was forced to close its office Monday, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Work resumed Wednesday, following two days of cleaning, he said.
However, results posted on the Ocean County Clerk’s website remained unofficial and incomplete on Thursday, with tallies showing only the 73 percent of the total vote counted as of 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7.
Ms. Byrnes [1,760 votes] and Mr. Migut [1,722 votes] were holding their leads over newcomer Democrats Thomas F. Brennan [993 votes] and Ernest J. Geiger [971 votes]. Twenty votes were submitted for write-in candidates.
With her lead in place, Ms. Byrnes said Tuesday that she was thrilled at being favored for another term.
“First off, what a great turnout,” said Ms. Byrnes. “It’s wonderful to see your friends and neighbors vote for you in such large numbers. It’s quite humbling, actually.
“I promise to continue to work hard for my supporters, my town and for those whose support I did not have,” she said. “With all of us working cohesively, we can continue to meet the challenges ahead. I very much look forward to continuing my work downtown with the business community and any of our constituents’ quality-of-life concerns.”
Mr. Migut, too, was glad of the outcome so far.
“It’s really humbling,” said Mr. Migut. “Six years ago when I first got elected, a third term was not even on my mind.”
“I thank the voters of PPB for taking note of what I’ve been doing and I’m going to keep on going,” said Mr. Migut.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Paul Kanitra congratulated the two incumbents.
“I’m not sure if everybody fully understands how significant the results really are,” said Mr. Kanitra. “I think the results of the election are resounding. The community just basically saying how strongly they feel about what you guys are doing and what this administration is doing. It’s something to be incredibly proud of.”
He said the number of votes held by Mr. Migut and Ms. Byrnes, currently over 1,700 each, is the most votes received by individual candidates in Point Beach in the last 20 years. He said it could possibly be a record-breaking tally.
If the results stand, the two incumbents would sit for three-year terms on council.
The current council consists of Doug Vitale, Arlene Testa, Andy Cortes, Bob Santanello and the two incumbent candidates, Ms. Byrnes and Mr. Migut.
Councilwoman Byrnes filled a seat on council this year, serving as the fire department liaison, and seeks her first full three-year term in the borough.
She previously served as a committee person for Ward A in Jersey City and is a former code enforcement officer there.
Councilman Migut seeks his third term on the dais. Mr. Migut currently serves as council president, has served on the borough’s planning board for 17 years and is a member of the flood plain management committee.
Board of Education race
As the only candidate running for a seat on the borough’s Board of Education, Michael Ramos secured his third term. As of Nov. 7’s unofficial tally, Mr. Ramos received 2,077 votes.
“I am greatly humbled and excited to again be given the opportunity to serve the residents of Point Pleasant Beach as a member of the Board of Education,” said Mr. Ramos.
Mr. Ramos has served on the board since filling an unexpired term in 2015. He currently serves as the board’s president and has served as a member of the board’s policy committee, finance committee, contract negotiation committee and buildings and grounds committee.
“I would like to thank the community for their trust,” Mr. Ramos said. “I will continue to work hard to ensure that the Point Pleasant Beach School District will thrive and excel in its tradition of providing a well-rounded education for all of our students.
“This pandemic has brought with it many challenges that we will continue to deal with as the school year progresses,” he continued. “I greatly appreciate everyone’s hard work and sacrifice to keep things as normal as possible for our children. Better times lie ahead of us!”
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