BELMAR — Democrat Caitlin Donovan has overwhelmingly defeated Republican Sean Patrick Di Somma in the race for a single borough council seat in Belmar.
The unofficial count from the Monmouth County Board of Elections Tuesday night showed Ms. Donovan, an appointed incumbent, gaining her first elected term on the council with just over 62 percent of total votes counted — 1,062 votes for Ms. Donovan to 645 for Mr. Di Somma.
“I am just so thrilled and honored to have won the respect of the people of Belmar this way,” Ms. Donovan told The Coast Star on Tuesday night. “I hope this is the beginning of a lot of good work for Belmar.”
Ms. Donovan had been seeking a full term after being named by the Belmar Democratic Committee and borough council to fill the unexpired term left by the resignation of then-council president, Thomas Brennan, in June. She will be sworn into council this January to serve a three-year term.
Mr. Di Somma had been nominated by the Belmar Republican Committee following the withdrawal of Victoria Renner, who had won the GOP primary in June. He proceeded to wage a campaign that included appearances during the public comment portion of several council meetings to criticize the performance of current council members, including Ms. Donovan, as well as calling for Mayor Gerald Buccafusco to resign.
He had frequently called Ms. Donovan a lobbyist, referring to work she said she had left behind 15 years ago. She is currently employed as senior director for the nonprofit organization Patient Advocate Foundation, where she creates educational materials for patients navigating the health care system, as well as assisting with grant writing and running their social media accounts and website.
On Tuesday night, however, Mr. Di Somma congratulated his opponent in a Facebook post, writing in part that Ms. Donovan “deserves the support of everyone in Belmar and I will pray for her family as well as all of those folks who spent time volunteering for her campaign. Congratulations to all of you! Great win, well deserved.”
He also wrote that he is “proud of our little 8-week shoestring campaign and how we escalated the policy conversation in this town.”
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.
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