The wait is finally over.
Democrats Jay Taylor and Michael J. Ferrante won the race for Cranbury Township Committee in a contest that was not decided until this week.
In a race for two seats, Taylor finished in first place with 1,113 votes to capture a fourth term. Ferrante won the other seat with 1,078 votes, an 11-vote margin of victory over former committeeman Wayne Wittman, a Republican who finished with 1,067 votes.
Ferrante and Wittman had been tied at 1,044 votes before provisional ballots were counted. They endured 13 days of waiting to learn the outcome of the race, one that leaves Democrats with a 4-1 majority on the committee.
“I’ve never seen an election this close,” Taylor said on Nov. 19. “But I think it speaks to the character of the individuals who are running, that the election was so close with everybody.”
Ferrante, a former Cranbury school board member, said on Nov. 19 that he was “really excited” to win.
“I wish it hadn’t taken 13 days to get there,” he said, “but I’m happy to serve and looking forward to having a seat at the table as we tackle some important issues moving forward.”
Wittman lost a contest he was leading on election night after the polls closed and continued to lead when mail-in ballots were being counted, until Ferrante tied and then overtook him.
“It was close, but it is what it is. It’s just the way it goes,” he said.
Wittman said he would not seek a recount of the contest. He said he had spoken to Ferrante to wish him well.
“He brought a lot of attention to the importance of volunteerism in town,” Ferrante said of Wittman. “I thought that was a great focus.”
Taylor sought to add a touch of humor to the drawn-out contest. He traveled last week to Florida, a state that had protracted races for governor and U.S. Senate.
“The first thing I’d say is that while I was in Florida, it certainly seems Florida came to Cranbury,” he said.
He said he was “extremely disappointed” in Middlesex County election officials for taking so long to certify the vote.
“Thirteen days post-election seems to me rather poor when you figure out whole states are certifying their votes in less time,” he said.
Looking to 2019, Taylor said he is interested in becoming mayor, a post he has held before.
Cranbury residents do not directly elect a mayor; the mayor is chosen from among the five members of the Township Committee to serve a one-year term.
“We’ll see if I have the votes on the Township Committee,” Taylor said. “If I do, I’ll be thankful to have them.”