The results of Tuesday's election in Belmar surprised many— including the winner.
Republican candidate Jim Bean was all smiles on Tuesday evening after learning that he had won a full term on the borough council.
Bean, along with his family and supporters celebrated his victory at the Boathouse. After previous forays into borough politics proved unsuccessful, Bean is anxious to take his seat on the governing body and get to work.
"We're just representing the taxpayer," he said.
Bean will take over the seat of sitting councilman Richard Wright, who opted not to seek re-election this year.
"The seat is in good hands," Wright said.
"Politics drives me nuts," Bean said when asked how he'll handle being the council's lone Republican. "I just want to do what's right."
Speaking at the Democratic team's party at Connolly Station, Mayor Matt Doherty was surprised by the results and noted what he referred to as a "very low" voter turnout in the borough.
"We'll do our best to work with the winner on the council," Doherty said. "I think the most important thing is for council members to work as a team and put partisanship aside."
After securing another year for herself on the governing body, Councilwoman Jennifer Nicolay explained that she's anxious to get to work.
"I'm ready to go," Nicolay said, noting a desire to keep the tax rate stable and to work on Main Street revitalization.
"My big goal, for me, as corny as it sounds, is to unite the town," Nicolay added.
"We've got local businesses, we've got the schools, we've got the parishes, we've got the residents," she said. "There's been very little connection between all of them.
"One entity doesn't have knowledge of the other entity and I think to have a really unified town moving forward, we've got to get these separate entities aware of what's happening," she added.
Nicolay also noted a low turnout for borough voters.
"I would think that people who have the right to vote would go out and do it no matter what election it is," she said.
Connie Gutierrez was short on words, but offered congratulations to Bean. The candidate has not ruled out another run in the future.
"I'm going to think about it. We'll think about it. Whatever's best for the residents," Gutierrez said.
Council (full term)
James Bean (Rep) √ 711
Concetta Gutierrez (Dem) 689
Council (one-year, unexpired term)
Jennifer Nicolay (Dem) √ 850