A unique election cycle came to an end on Saturday morning when Holmdel Deputy Mayor Serena DiMaso resigned to be sworn in as the newest member of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Saturday's election at Colts Neck High School was voted on by members of the Monmouth County Republican Committee with a total of 486 ballots being cast in the first round. Needing 50 percent of the vote plus one more to gain a majority, DiMaso garnered exactly 243 votes to force a second round of voting.
Her closest competitor, Howell Mayor Robert Walsh, who was a distant second with 140 votes, conceded the election before the second round of voting was completed.
DiMaso said after the election she was looking forward to taking on this latest opportunity. "It was quite a whirlwind," she said of the day. "I'm very excited about being able to represent all of Monmouth County."
She also gave credit to her challenger from Howell for a well-fought race. "I think that Mr. Walsh was very gentlemanly in conceding the race. I appreciate that, but I think more importantly I made three new friends and we are all united and the party is ready to go for November to take on the Democrats."
DiMaso said she was moved by the way people turned out for the special election, "To have 500 delegates today and even more that were not delegates certainly says some wonderful things about the Republican party on a holiday weekend that it was so important that people were here."
Looking ahead to her new job, DiMaso said she is looking forward to the challenges ahead. "I think the biggest issue is always going to be taxes, and I have a good track record in Holmdel of holding the line on taxes so I hope to bring that same fiscal conservatism to the Freeholder board," she said.
Walsh said he was proud of the race he ran and was thankful for all the support he received. After trailing by a considerable margin after the first round of voting, Walsh said he decided it was best to bring the election to an end. "I didn't want to go through with it," he said. "It wasn't fair to her, it wasn't fair to the people here."
Manalapan Councilman Ryan Green and Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle were the two candidates who did not receive enough votes to advance to the second round of voting. Despite the loss, Green said it was a good experience for him.
"Anytime you get into a race you want to win, and I feel like I had an excellent chance," he said. "As everyone's been saying throughout the campaign it was a great bench with four great candidates."
Admitting he was an "underdog," in the race, Green said he is looking forward to getting back to work with the township council. "I feel like I made a strong showing and I'm happy with everything I did throughout the campaign."
DiMaso said she believed the county committee now has 30 days to submit three names to the Holmdel council and one of those would be picked as her successor.