Democrats Regain Control of Freeholder Board
Incumbent Rob Hermansen and former River Edge mayor Margaret "Peg" Watkins have been defeated by Democrats Tracy Zur and Steve Tanelli.
Democrats were poised to gain control of the Bergen County Freeholder Board for the first time in two years, with Tracy Zur and Steve Tanelli leading their Republican opponents by more than 30,000 votes.
With 98.93 percent of ballots tallied, the Democratic pair overwhelmed Republican incumbent Robert Hermansen and running mate, Margaret "Peg" Watkins.
Although several thousand ballots still need to be counted, the Republicans have conceded the race, northjersey.com reported.
Unofficial data had Zur and Tanelli ahead by about 30,000 votes as of 11:43 p.m. Tanelli, a popular local councilman from North Arlington, checked in with 27.5 percent of the vote. His running mate, Zur, a former prosecutor and county judge from Franklin Lakes, took 26.7 percent, according to the data.
Lagging behind were Mahwah's Hermansen, with 22 percent of the vote, and the former River Edge mayor Watkins, with 21.5 percent.
Before the polls closed, Republicans held a 5-2 edge on the county board. With Zur and Tanelli joining David Ganz and Joan Voss, Democrats will have a 4-3 majority.
Green Party candidates Joseph Pezillo and Edmund Fanning each had about 1 percent of the vote.
At debates and during the campaign, Zur and Tanelli found they often agreed with their Republican challengers.
All thought Bergen Regional Medical Center should be maintained; development with a large natural gas pipeline snaking through the Ramapo Mountains be pursued for job growth; the American Dream project at the Meadowlands be completed; and Bergen Community College be strengthened.
The Democratic hopefuls in early October issued an 11-point plan for the county, pledging to work with the sheriff's department on a proposal for the merger of the county police; finding a reduction in overtime costs; initiating up a work force creation program; and developing a better working relationship with Donovan, among others.