It was a busy Election Day in Howell and by the time the night was over the township had a new mayor, a new councilman and two new members of the board of education.
With 10,423 votes Deputy Mayor Bill Gotto, the Republican candidate topped Democrat William Field who received 6,841 votes according to the Monmouth County Board of Elections website. Independent Elaine Taylor received 1,099 votes.
Calling his win "a little overwhelming," Gotto said he was looking forward to continuing the work he started when he was elected to the council. "Nothing changes. I'm still full speed ahead on our mission."
Winning the election was an honor, but Gotto said there are other things he is focused on now. "The fact is we still have a couple thousand people without power," he said. "We've got some things we have to finish and I'm more focused on that."
Succeeding Mayor Robert Walsh, Gotto said is also an honor as he prepares to take his seat in January. "He's a good man, he's a good leader and he cares about this town more than anybody I've ever known. It's an honor to follow him and the other elected mayors."
For his part Walsh said he believed his successor will do a good job in his new role. "He definitely has the town's best interests at heart," he said.
When the new council convenes in January Gotto will be joined on the dais by fellow Republican Ed Guz who received 9,972 votes according to the county. Democratic challenger Suzanne Wolff received 7,893 votes in the race to succeed Councilman Juan Malave.
There were three seats up for grabs for the Howell Public Schools Board of Education with two incumbents running for the seats. Newcomer Chuck Welsh received the most votes with 6,353 according to the unofficial results. He was followed by fellow newcomer Jeanne DePompo who received 5,794 votes, which put her slightly ahead of current Board President Timothy O'Brien.
Incumbent Pat Dowling finished with 4,660 votes while Nancy Donio and Amy Fankhauser received 3,515 and 3,416 votes respectively.