MATAWAN – Republicans Charlie Ross and Melanie Wang have been elected to serve three-year terms on the Borough Council in Matawan.
Election results posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office indicate Ross and Wang defeated incumbent Democratic councilmen John Lazar and Nicolas Reeve.
According to the election results, Ross led all candidates with 1,559 votes and Wang received 1,522 votes. Lazar and Reeve received 1,481 and 1,435 votes, respectively, in their bids to retain their seats on the governing body.
The 2021 general election was conducted with vote by mail ballots; with early in-person voting on nine days in late October; and with in-person voting on Election Day, Nov. 2.
In a statement provided to the Independent, Lazar, who is serving as the council president in 2021, congratulated Ross and Wang on their victory and thanked residents for their support.
“The people have spoken and I accept the results. Congratulations to Charlie Ross and Melanie Wang on being elected to Borough Council. I wish you both nothing but the best of luck going forward. At the end of the day, we are all neighbors.
“Matawan is an amazing place and deserves nothing less. Representing the town I have loved since I was a small boy has been the greatest honor of my life thus far. Matawan, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to serve this great town for the last two years.
“Thank you to all the countless volunteers, supporters, friends, family, and the Restore team who were there with me every step of the journey. ‘The night is always darkest before the dawn.’
“Matawan’s best days still lie ahead. Onward and upward,” said Lazar, who was selected in 2019 to serve a two-year term after the passing of Councilman David P. Vergaretti.
Reeve could not be reached by press time.
Anissa Esposito, the chairwoman of the Matawan Republican Committee, provided a statement to the Independent explaining the challenges of this year’s election.
According to Esposito, the Republicans faced several challenges, including the post-primary replacement of candidate Salvatore Esposito with Wang.
“This was a short campaign season for our team as we had a change in a candidate after (the June primary) and experienced an unusual, but significant delay in getting Melanie Wang placed on the ballot.
“This was just one challenge created by the strain on the Board of Elections due the (coronavirus) pandemic and the implementation of new early voting laws after the primary,” Esposito said.
In a joint statement provided to the Independent by Ross and Wang, the newly elected candidates said that Matawan’s 8,700 residents “can expect transparency, an open mind and open ears. We are council persons-elect of the people, for the people, by the people.
“In a small town we are all neighbors first and foremost. … Our ultimate goal is to help make Matawan the best community in the county to live, work and raise a family,” Ross and Wang said.
Ross and Wang listed several potential initiatives that they hope to implement in the borough.
“Our top priorities other than representing the best interests of the residents are to address the increased debt and the train station development.
” … We also are focused on implementing or enhancing existing recreational/social programs and opportunities through more public-private partnerships that will benefit our community … such as creating a dog park, and a new ordinance focused on the creation and care of cat colonies to address the feral cat issue in the borough.
” … We would also like to find a space and partner with a private company to bring a skate/bike park into Matawan, which would provide a safe place for our youth and attract visitors from the surrounding area,” Ross and Wang said.