In Morris Township, where the mayor is chosen by fellow members of the Township committee, Peter Mancuso received the honor so many times that people started calling him Mayor Emeritus.
But his continued service as a committeeman is not assured, despite his victory at the polls on Tuesday.
Mancuso, the lone Republican on the governing body, defeated Democrat William “Bud” Ravitz to claim a seventh term. However, the margin was only 48 votes. Some 173 provisional ballots and nearly 100 mail-in ballots still must be counted, according to Dale Kramer, administrator for the Morris County Board of Elections.
That final tabulation is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
“We have to wait and see what happens,” said Mancuso, 82, a retired governor of the New York Stock Exchange. “You take everything with a certain degree of equanimity.”
This race is far from over,” said Ravitz, a 58-year-old project manager for AT&T who has lived in the Township for three years.
Mancuso raised twice as much money as Ravitz–$27,000 to $13,460, and also outspent him by 2-to-1, according to the most recent reports filed last month with the state. Mancuso’s war chest included $5,000 from the Township Republican Committee.
The margin of victory may be slim, but Mancuso said it’s not bad when you consider recent history.
“Republicans lost the last two elections in the Township by considerable margins,” he said, referring to the committee’s flip from all-Republican to a 4-1 Democratic majority.
Ravitz is pleased with his showing so far.
“I’m only behind by 48 votes in a race against an icon in the township. That’s darn impressive for a newcomer against a well-known incumbent…Had I been running against any other opponent, I’d likely have won,” he said, citing strong local showings by Democrats running for other offices.
Both candidates said they were happy with their campaigns.
“We ran a wonderful campaign,” said Mancuso.
“I’d like to see more campaigns run this clean,” Ravitz said.
Provisional ballots are issued when discrepancies arise over voters’ eligibility. Election officials must decide whether to accept each of these ballots. The vote-by-mail ballots still in play are ones postmarked on Election Day, and received within 48 hours by county election officials, Kramer explained.