The group of Republicans gathered at Cafe 34 in Matawan fell silent as Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R-12) walked into the restaurant, initial election results in hand.
When the polls closed at 8 p.m. in the borough, 1,585 votes were cast for Toni Angelini and 1,551 for Andrew Lopez, the Republican incumbents. Kimberly Daly and Nicholas Nellegar, the Democratic candidates seeking the two open council seats, received 1,563 and 1,500 votes, respectively.
With the intial results so close and the high number of Monmouth County residents voting via absentee and mail-in ballots, the candidates will have to wait until the end of the week to know who truly won the election. Voters who chose to submit their ballot electronically have until Friday night to do so.
Clifton, however, was confident that the Republican candidates would be successful.
"I think at the end of the day we'll be fine, and we'll get both candidates in," he said.
Andrew Lopez noted that he was a little shocked by the initial results, but is hopeful that the outcome will fall in his favor.
"There's a lot of absentee ballots to be counted out of district 7 where I live and that tends to be heavily Republican," he said.
Toni Angelini applauded the high turn-out at the polls for election day.
"I'm happy to see that a lot of people took part in the process tonight. I'm happy to see a lot of people came out to vote, regardless of who they voted for. They are engaged and that's important," she said. "I'm looking forward to having all of the votes counted and having both Andy and I be victorious and begin our second term together."
Democratic candidate Nicholas Nellegar, however, believes that the close poll today shows that the residents are looking for new faces on the council.
"Our initial reaction is that the town is definitely ready for change and their looking for change. I think it shows we ran a good campaign and made a good fight for it," he said.