SOUTH RIVER–Republican Councilman James Gurchensky and Democrat Julie Meira have won the two open seats on the South River Borough Council.
Gurchensky won 3,054 votes and Meira won 3,051 of the votes.
Republican candidate David Rein won 2,933 votes and Democratic candidate Shawn Haussermann won 2,906 of the votes, according to the Middlesex County Clerk’s Office certified vote tallies on Nov. 20.
“To tell you the truth, the process was very peculiar to people because they were just not accustomed to this particular situation. Of course, the situation dictated that we carried it on this way, but what can I say, the results were very slow coming in because there are over half a million people in Middlesex County who are eligible to vote so that really prolonged the process too,” Gurchensky said about this year’s vote-by-mail election.
There were eight write-in votes, and the total number of votes was 11,951, according to the clerk’s office.
“I’m happy with the results and at least I can try to continue on with the work for South River. It’s an older town – that means a lot of tender love and care, it really does, the infrastructure is suffering that like in many communities in Middlesex County,” Gurchensky said.
Now that the election has been certified, Meira said she’d like to congratulate all that ran for council this year.
“It has not been a normal year in any way. I am grateful for all our residents that took the time to vote this year. It is a bittersweet moment for me, as my running mate [Hausermann] did not secure a seat on the council, but I am hopeful that my voice will be heard,” Meira said. “South river needs its residents to follow council meetings. It is now easier than ever to stay informed with virtual meetings, I hope everyone takes advantage of this while we have it.”
Rein said he is disappointed that he did not get the amount of votes needed to win a council seat, but at the same time it was a close race which could have gone a lot of different ways for any of the candidates.
“I do feel that for myself since I was the only new candidate running this year. Not being able to campaign in person because of the COVID-19 situation hurt my chances to meet people from town and let them know what my ideas for South River were and are,” Rein said. “I could have possibly swayed enough independent voters to get me over the hump in the voting. I wish the best for the two candidates that did win council seats and hope they do right for the people of South River over their terms.”
“Looking to the future, I believe that the vote-by-mail process was a great success. I believe it can be streamlined to provide quicker tallying of the results. It provided a simple, easy and secure way for voters to cast their votes and addressed the problems presented by the COVID-19 crisis,” Haussermann said. “In South River, vote by mail represented about 90% of the total votes cast. That shows the confidence that residents had in the process. It was my first time voting by mail and I will be voting this way going forward.”
Contact Vashti Harris at email@example.com.