Incumbent Democrat to earn second term on Cranbury Township Committee

Republican candidate Joseph Buonavolonta has conceded in the race for a one three-year term on the township committee against incumbent Democrat Mayor Matt Scott.

The current makeup of the five-member committee is a Democratic majority of 3-2 and will stay that way for 2021, when Scott is sworn in for his second term.

The three Democrats are Scott, Deputy Mayor Mike Ferrante, and Committeewoman Barbara Rogers.

Committeeman James Taylor is no longer a registered Democrat and is now unaffiliated. Committeewoman Evelyn Spann is the sole Republican on the committee.

The results from the Nov. 3 general election listed reflect what has been posted online by the Middlesex County Clerk’s Office as of 9:57 p.m. Nov. 10, which was current as of press time.

The results are not final and it is not known when the results will be final. The results of the election will remain unofficial until they are certified, which is expected around Nov. 20.

Scott, who currently serves as mayor, has 1,141 votes. Buonavolonta has 613 votes. There are 0 write-in votes.

“I want to thank the residents of Cranbury who supported my campaign and voted for me. I appreciate your vote and confidence,” Buonavolonta said in a letter to the community. “Cranbury is a wonderful community filled with people who care. This care for community today is why I am filled with hope and believe other residents are as well.”

He added that Scott’s election has filled him with hope.

“I have hope that Matt, in his second term, will seek to represent all residents. I am hopeful that we will never again hear the divisive words such as calling members of the other political party or those who disagree with as racist or prejudiced,” Buonavolonta said. “We cannot build a community if leaders seek to degrade rather than uplift.”

Additionally, Buonavolonta added that he would like to see change in Scott’s view on a marijuana dispensary in town, hopes for Scott’s continued focus on traffic safety, and the township committee doing more diligence when reviewing contracts and projects.

On whether he will seek public office again and more specifically in 2021’s township committee seat elections for two three-year terms, he said it is too early for a decision.

“It is too early to really say but if the committee doesn’t step it up I absolutely will,” Buonavolonta said.

Taylor has already announced that he will not seek re-election with his current term up next year and Ferrante’s current term will also conclude at the end of next year.

Scott has earned his second three-year term on the committee coming out of the 2020 election. He first secured a seat in 2017 as a candidate seeking public office for the first time.

“It is not official yet, but it looks good. With that much of a margin I am very moved by the people’s confidence in me in Cranbury. I am looking forward to being able to govern with a pretty decent mandate,” he said. “Some of the things I am looking forward to doing is more of the same, like revitalizing the downtown.”

Other areas of focus include making sure the Economic Development Advisory Committee becomes an important part of Cranbury Township governance; trying to secure money in the budget to work on rebuilding some of the infrastructure downtown; the town stays safe during COVID and keeping an eye on township finances; and getting the Brainerd Lake Dredging completed in the fall 2021.

“I want to also make sure that we work to bring new voices in to our civic conversation. During the campaign I met with a large group of Asian American residents of town who had never been involved with local government or local civic engagement,” Scott said. “I look forward to working with them and others like them to find new ways to revitalize and expand our community.”

Scott sees one of the top challenges he faces as member of the township committee is the current coronavirus pandemic crisis.

“One of the biggest challenges is going to be how we emerge from COVID and how we can help the businesses in town stay vibrant and attract other businesses. Getting out from under COVID is going to be job number one,” Scott added.