Newcomers Greg Lembrich and Nancy Adams won the Maplewood Township Committee primary election Tuesday, defeating incumbent Jerry Ryan by a nearly two-to-one margin.
As of 8:55 p.m., district leaders reported the following vote totals: Lembrich 1,552, Adams 1,526 and Ryan 841. The tallies include write-in votes.
Ryan and Adams were the candidates endorsed by the Maplewood Democratic Committee and campaigned on a ticket together. Ryan has served on the TC for 19 years, including three years as Mayor.
The campaign had become contentious in the last few weeks, with Ryan and Lembrich butting heads over the redevelopment of the former Maplewood Post Office. Although Lembrich emphasized the election was not just about that one issue, it did dominate much of the debates, campaign literature and discussions.
Lembrich and Adams will be on the ballot in the November general election, and will vie for the two seats against Republican Phyllis Scalera, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary.
“It was a tough, hard fought campaign and while I’m certainly disappointed for myself I’m pleased for Maplewood and the quality of folks that will represent them for the next three years,” Ryan told the Village Green. Ryan, along with Adams, waited out the results at O’Reilly’s Pub. “I called Greg to congratulate him and I told him that I hope he loves serving this town as much as I have. I expect and I hope that I will continue to serve Maplewood.”
“Jerry has been an incredible TC member,” said Adams told the crowd at the pub. “I thank him for his service. I know what it takes in the planning board and that is going to be expanded. I’m humbled by this whole thing.” Addressing Deputy Mayor Kathleen Leventhal, who decided not to run again, Adams said, “Thank you, Kathy, for your service and I hope I can step in.”
“You’ll be great,” shouted Leventhal from the crowd.
At his home, Lembrich told supporters he was grateful for their hard work and that they ran a strong campaign.
“I look forward to serving all of Maplewood,” Lembrich told the Village Green. “I’m especially excited to now be running with and soon be serving with Nancy Adams. She’s the right combination of smart independent voice and relevant development and revitalization experience that our town needs to move forward. I also want to thank Jerry Ryan for running a great issues based campaign, as well as for his decades of outstanding and dedicated service to Maplewood.”
Click on any photo below for a slideshow of images from the campaign headquarters.